COVID-19 unit staff take care to wash away the danger

Then there are those like Angele Viger. She volunteered to care for COVID-19 patients after the cardiac clinic she worked in temporarily closed during quarantine.

“I really wanted to use my medical knowledge and my experience to help during COVID in any way that I could,” she said. “It’s certainly been, by far, the most difficult thing I’ve done in my entire career. It’s very emotional and it takes a pretty big toll on your mental health as well.”

Knowing she wouldn’t be the only one at heightened risk, she talked to her partner before reaching out to the dean of the McMaster physician assistant program about working on the front line.

“He was OK with it, he didn’t want to deter my efforts to help,” said Viger of her partner’s response. “He’s been a bit nervous and very cognizant of it. We’ve been quite diligent about any exposures ourselves.”

She is one of about a dozen physician assistants hired by Hamilton Health Sciences from April to August to specifically help with the pandemic.

“Everything was quite daunting right at the beginning, when I was very cognizant of what I was doing and the risks I was taking,” she said. “That was nerve-racking.”

But she never regretted it.

“These patients need someone to care for them,” she said. “They need empathy and they need a good team around them.” …READ MORE in The Hamilton Spectator.