A reflection on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic from our partners at the American College of Medical Quality.
Authored by Don Casey, MD, MPH, MBA, President of the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ)
In this challenging and uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the American College of Medical Quality, I want to thank all ACMQ members across the world who are currently on the frontlines of healthcare delivery fighting hard for the safety and recovery of patients and colleagues. Whether it’s providing direct patient care, engaging in operations, leading management, ensuring public health, delivering educational and expert advice or ensuring payment for services, these ACMQ members are, for our unsung heroes, for whom we are all truly grateful.
I am sure that you are all giving calmness, comfort, advice and stability to your family, friends and professional colleagues in the face of rapidly changing surveillance data, ever-evolving information on promising treatment, containment and prevention interventions, and unfortunate fearmongering through online misinformation. As the old saying goes, “The End of the World Only Happens Once”, and now is certainly not the time for this to occur!
Since being in “lockdown mode” for the past two weeks here in Chicago, I’ve been reflecting on my Dad, who, at age 19 was shot down while returning from his heroic B-17 crew’s 27th bombing mission over Germany shortly after D-Day in 1944. Dad parachuted to safety but was then captured and taken as a prisoner of war to Stalag Luft III on the Eastern Front in Poland. Later, in the bitter January winter of 1945 when Soviet troops were bearing down on the Nazis, he and thousands of other POWs were packed shoulder to shoulder in boxcars for 3 miserable days with little food, water and warm clothing to Moosburg, just outside of Munich, Germany until their liberation by General Patton on May 8 (which happens to be my birthday). At this time, according to my grateful grandmother, he was practically a skeleton and suffered continuously from vivid nightmares that replayed his horrible B-17 and POW experiences for the next several months after his return home to Chicago.
Although my Dad suffered unknowingly for most of his life after this event, from what was later to be known as “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”, he taught me and my three brothers to always be thankful and steadfast in the face of adversity, be it large or small. Ultimately, he became an active patient at the Jesse Brown VA (just down the street from Cook County Hospital and Rush Medical Center, my residency alma mater) where he was successfully treated for PTSD and given a full government disability pension for his dutiful service to our Country. Today he lies at rest in the beautiful and mighty Arlington Cemetery, where I visit him every time I come to Washington DC to represent ACMQ at an in-person NQF meeting, etc.
My Dad was one of the millions of American heroes large and small during and after WWII who all came to the rescue of not only our country but the entire world. After more than 60 million people died in this devastating war, the world was no doubt forever changed. As I reflect on all of this today, I can’t help but liken our current circumstances with COVID-19 to this and other such crises that have also left the world a different place (and will now). And while life on Earth has never been perfect, I have no doubt that this time, our world will be a better and safer place thanks to the heroic efforts, good spirit, and faith from each and every one of you.
We strongly recommend that ACMQ members use the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) COVID-19 Resource Center website as the best and most comprehensive and current resource for COVID-19.
Stay Spiritually Positive and COVID-Negative.
About The Author: Don Casey, MD, MPH, MBA
A board-certified primary care internist, Dr. Don Casey has practiced primary care, emergency medicine, and hospital/critical care medicine in a variety of clinical settings for 19 years, including an inner city Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a 2 physician private office practice, a large internal medicine teaching program group practice and a multispecialty group in a rural community providing full risk/capitated care to Medicaid patients. He is the current President of the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ). He has also served as a medical director for long term care, palliative care, geriatric services and home care organizations. A highly sought after speaker, Dr. Casey lectures and teaches nationwide on health policy issues, physician leadership and on new strategies to improve patient care through population health, clinical integration, effective care coordination, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, patient-centered outcomes, new models of undergraduate and graduate medical education and quality performance measurements.
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