March 12, 2020
I did my first COVID-19 testing swabs yesterday. When the testing tent personnel see a small child and need help, the pediatrician on call comes out. That was me yesterday. It was the first time I’ve worn the precious N-95 mask and gowned in full PPE. These were just pre-admission COVID-19 swabs on kids with complex medical issues, so these children are a lower risk category. But I felt helpful. One toddler was my own patient, and it felt good to wave to the mother and to know that I was a familiar set of eyes behind the faceshield. The other patient belonged to another pediatrician and had many complex medical issues. It was a very large truck and the adult nurse wanted me to do the swab through the window. Please remember I’m not even 5’2″, this was a very large truck, and the child was a tiny little thing smaller than her age due to chronic medical issues. It helps that I have been in charge of things for a while, and I know what I know well and know what I don’t know. I suggested to the nurse, “There is no way I’m going to be able to get this swab into her nose. I need to open that door. I’m too short and my arms are not that long.” So I opened the door and asked mom to hold her, and positioned my body to prevent her from falling out of the truck. And then gently used the precious swab to touch the back of her pharnyx both sides, and then did a nasopharyngeal swab in the left nostril. Done. She cried just a little bit and was fine. Mother was filming on her iPhone. Everyone does that these days. I didn’t think it was the time to ask her to stop filming (I think its against official policy). But everyone films these days and I’m sure it is just to document the little girls journey. I waved into the iPhone camera. Then mom put the phone down to give her child a hug.