Why This Doctor Went to the Front Lines of the Pandemic

As a second-year family medicine resident in New York, Dr. Jacqueline Segelnick pretty much always has her hands full at work, not to mention the 2-year-old waiting for her at home. But when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit — and surged in New York — she knew she had to help any way she could, even if it meant giving up precious time with her husband and daughter. “The residents were pulled from all other responsibilities to solely help our inpatient service including ICU, COVID-19 units and hospitalist service,” Jacqueline said. “We changed our normal 7am to 7pm schedule to include overnight shifts. The relationship and camaraderie between staff, the true caring and kindness and the feeling of ‘we’re all in this together’ became a lifeline.”

Jacqueline had to make some tough decisions about how being on the front lines would effect the rest of her family. “I had to figure out a way to keep my family safe, keep myself sane, and take care of all these really sick and acute patients,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine that if, God forbid, something happened to me, that I didn’t kiss my daughter goodnight, so rather than quarantine from my family, I went through an entire decontamination process every day to get the chance to kiss her and my husband.”

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