EL DORADO, Ark. (05/28/20) — A doctor from El Dorado answered the call to fight in one of the hardest hit areas affected by the coronavirus. She’s back and hopes her story will encouraged others to heed the warnings.
The images and videos seen reported on television and through social media is exactly what Dr. Misty Kneeland experienced while working in the country epicenter for the virus.
“To think about it. I try to block it out,” she said. “It’s sad. We lost a lot of patients.”
She’s been in the medical field for over 15 years but never so anything so alarming while volunteering for 5 weeks at a hospital in New York City.
“There were about 200 hundred patients admitted to the hospital and then there were probably 70 plus patients in the ER waiting to be admitted of which there weren’t beds for,” she said.
The hardest part for Kneeland was communicating with family members. She often spoke with them through video and phone calls to update them on their sick loved one.
The conversation was quite different from she’s normally used to because these family members couldn’t give a physical goodbye.
“It was a huge difference,” Dr. Kneeland said. “With doing anesthesia, I don’t have to do it on a daily basis. I’ve had plenty through my training through the years of having those difficult conversations but this time family members never saw them again once they entered the emergency room.”
Some days Kneeland took walks to ease her mind from the mental toll the experience had on her. She recalled taking a stroll in the middle of what was once a bustling city with packed streets and finding few in sight.
Those she did see were taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the virus. She remembered approximately 90 percent of the people wearing their masks.
She quickly became a minority when returning back to Arkansas. Hardly anyone was wearing a mask or social distancing and that concerned her.
Although this was a new experience for her and most doctors, it was such an unknown experience trying to figure out protocols for patients and treatment measures with very little knowledge about what they were treating.
She doesn’t understand how people come up with the conspiracy theories because everything she saw firsthand was real.
“It’s not a political disease it is a true medical disease that people have lost lives over,” she said.
Dr. Kneeland has been home for a few weeks and tested negative for the virus upon returning home. Before going to NYC she admits she wasn’t very consistent with wearing the masks but now it’s something she advocates for.
She assures the public that the safety guidelines aren’t designed to restrict you but to offer a necessary level of protection for everyone. She doesn’t expect El Dorado to reach New York City’s infection level but if we don’t do what we’re supposed to the numbers can and will go up.
“The masks are only a benefit,” Dr. Kneeland said. “It’s a benefit to you as you wear them and a benefit most importantly to the people around you.”