Cornwall Ontario Emergency Doctor Lorne Scharf Answers Some Covid-19 Questions on Social Media

JANUARY 5, 2021 – Below is a post from the Cornwall Community Hospital Chief of Staff and Emergency Room Doctor Doctor Lorne Scharf. Doctor Scharf has had some sage words before here on CFN and continues to lead the way at our local hospital.

He agreed to let CFN republish his post which we have below.

Hi Facebook friends!

I got a lot of feedback on my post about travel – thank you for reading it. A part of me is always amazed when people are interested in what I have to say 🙂

Here are a few more thoughts as we continue during this lockdown – some answers to questions that I get quite often:

First of all, what you do matters. For example – even if you feel fine, and think it is ok to socialize with a self-defined “bubble” of other people who feel fine, you might be passing around COVID between asymptomatic individuals.

Some could unknowingly bring COVID home to their parents – and then they could spread it to the aging grandparent who lives alone – a person who depends on you to deliver their groceries or medications. So, remember that what you do matters.

Travel is only one example. The public health guidelines are there for us as a community – and as individuals. If a person breaches the recommendations, that person may be hurting someone and not ever know.

What you do when no one is watching still counts. That is the definition of INTEGRITY. Please be a good member of the community and do what we need to do to save the most lives – and keep our healthcare system functional.

Second, “how is work?” Thank you so much to the people who ask me because I know they care about me too. I work as an ER doctor and I have an administrative portfolio as my hospital Chief of Staff. The answer is that work is good.

At my hospital we have a great group of people – from personal support workers to infection control experts, doctors, nurses, RT’s – there are many players. We have a compassionate administrative team who understands what it means to be a provider or a patient.

The truth is that we are carrying a lot of stress right now – but I feel we are well supported. Most importantly, we know we are there for the patients. I know what it is like to have a sick baby (my daughter was very sick when she was 24 days old), a sick parent or a sick friend.

During this pandemic it continues to be a privilege to be there for my fellow Canadians, my patients. My colleagues and I are really looking forward to getting our vaccines – to protect ourselves, our families and our patients. If I was sick and inadvertently gave COVID to a patient, I would never be able to forgive myself – in fact this might be my number one fear during this pandemic.

Fortunately, those vaccines seem closer than ever. We have good supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), and we are really cooperating well with our neighboring hospitals and other healthcare partners.

I do continue to worry about burnout in healthcare providers, a problem that was there before COVID – and I recognize that we have to take care of our providers as well as our patients.

Third – I get a lot of questions about the vaccine and which one I want and which I will get. The answer is that I will happily take whichever is available to me first! And I suggest you do the same.

In the New England Journal of Medicine, Pfizer published on Dec 10 and Moderna on Dec 30th their very good results. The benefits of vaccination are enormous when weighed against the reality of COVID. If you are lucky enough to be offered the vaccine – just do it, as NIKE would say.

If you are interested in the scientific literature, check the studies out at:

Fourth, I hear, “this must be horrible for you.” People know what my hobbies are and what I love doing with my spare time. I am so concerned about my favorite restaurants, and my friends who work in the hospitality industry. The Jazz Standard / Blue Smoke in NYC has closed. So has Sammy’s Roumanian – two of my favorite places in the world.

The devastation to the world of theater is beyond comprehension. For the sake of the essence of humanity, we need professional musicians, actors, performance artists, etc to be able to practice their craft. Artists need galleries and museums to open.

We really need to beat COVID and get back to the business of living.

The last thing I will mention is how happy I am to be in Canada. There is a lot of criticism of how we are performing, but remember that we are a country that puts its resources where they are needed.

Every difficult decision that I have been part of has a very serious consideration of ethics and consequences when implementing. No choices are made without considering maximal benefit, equity in allocation, fairness to all Canadians, transparency, legitimacy (science) and trust.

Even if we are not the fastest or shiniest – when it is over, I bet our successes will be amongst the greatest. Difficult decisions have been made – but they were all made with the best interests of all of us at the center of it. This is why it is so important to play your part.

This is the homestretch. Please try your best to stick with the effort. Follow public health advice. Follow travel advisories. If you are told to isolate, please do so. What you do matters and we are all in this together.

We wish Dr. Scharf and all of the team at CCH the best and hope they stay safe as they work hard to keep us all safe.

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