Today, I worked with a new team on a different unit in my hospital, dedicated professionals willing to risk their own health – within reason – to look after some of the most vulnerable mental health patients in this city. They are coming together quickly, working at breakneck speed.
We are building an entirely new program – in days. This is a task that would normally take two or three months and we are ready to go, so that our community can look after those who will develop COVID-19.
At the same time as the team I am working with is building one program, two other teams are building two other programs. The turnaround time on them is also rapid – days. This is unheard of at the best of times, but, at the worst times, this is what health care teams do.
Imagine our reaction when we learned, with the rest of Canada, that, because of an order by the President of the United States, personal protective equipment, intended for our colleagues directly in harm’s way, was blocked from being shipped to Canada. We may need some of this equipment in our roles, but not the way our colleagues in emergency rooms and on intensive care units and medical units will need it.
Everyone’s initial response to this action is anger, outrage, at this betrayal but, in the medical community itself, there is only resolve.
The implications of the science of coronavirus are clear to us. We need medical supplies and personal protective equipment, but we also know that it is compassion and determination that save lives in the worst situations.
We are coming up to April 9 – Vimy Ridge Day. On this day in 1917, at Vimy Ridge, Canadians showed the world that we were capable of miracles.
My colleagues have built 3 programs in just about one week in my hospital – 3 miracles. Similar miracles are happening in hospitals across Canada.
Those of us working keeping Canada and Canadians safe have every intention of moving forward together, of looking after each other.
No American President is going to stop us.
(Note: This is my favourite picture from the Canada/United States border. I am confident that most of the people living on both sides of the border regret today’s actions by the President. We know we need each other.The credit for this image is contained within it.)