Many Pomona College alumni in health-related fields are responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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David Siew '98 shares his story.
“I am an internal medicine hospitalist physician at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, Washington. Our hospital identified the first large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 disease in the United States after noting an influx of patients with unexplained respiratory disease from a local care facility. Up until that point, COVID-19 still felt a world away and none of these patients had the primary risk factor: international travel. We were shocked to discover ourselves at the initial national epicenter of the pandemic. I am amazed and humbled by the mobilization of our hospital and the multidisciplinary effort of every member of our organization to care for the community. My group continues to treat many hospitalized patients with the disease and has compiled the lessons we are learning for other healthcare providers.
“In my 14 years as a hospitalist, I have cared for thousands of patients with a diversity of ailments using a systematic approach that relies on standardized protocols, years of well-researched data, consultation with specialists, and personal experience as a clinician. In dealing with a novel illness without a clearly established treatment strategy, I have drawn upon many of the skills learned through my Pomona liberal arts education. In particular, I think back to my very first semester in Critical Inquiry when we were introduced to the process of independent thinking and research. The growing and evolving body of knowledge regarding COVID-19 requires providers to assimilate new information on a daily basis. Since there are many uncertainties, we have to collaborate with others and form our own critical conclusions on which to base our testing and treatment strategies.
“On a more personal level, while fulfilling my commitment to care for our community I have also had to confront concerns for the health and well-being of myself, my family, friends, and colleagues. The closeness I have felt towards them throughout this ordeal reminds me of the tight-knit culture on the Pomona campus. I am confident that we will overcome this healthcare crisis by working together as a medical community, and as a nation of individuals each doing our part to prevent further spread of disease.”