He had to tell the patients when it was time to say goodbye to their families.
“The hard thing is being the one talking to the Covid patient, and who says, ‘You know? Time to call your wife. We’ll have to put the breathing tube down and it’s time for you to say goodbye, ”Burcard said.
Burkard, 28, in his third year of residency at Spectrum Health Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he did what he needed to keep him safe. He says he wore protective gear at work, a mask on his time, and stayed socially distant.
He ran five days a week, played and trained volleyball, ate a healthy diet and had no underlying conditions. If he’s really injured, I think he will be fine.
He told CNN: “Actually, at some point, I thought, ‘I just want to get the virus and get over it.’ I thought there was no real chance of getting into hospital. I am a healthy young man. ”
I couldn’t breathe
Then came the disease and the positive result of Covid-19.
I started with a fever and a cough, and Burchard got sick, but after three days things improved significantly. He knew that young men could really get sick from the virus, but he seemed to have dodged that bullet. Then came the sixth day.
“I got out of bed,” Burcard said. “I went to make a sandwich and move around my apartment a little bit and I couldn’t catch my breath.” “I just couldn’t breathe.”
He tested his oxygen levels and knew – and so did his colleagues when he called – that he must accept it.
He went to his own hospital, where a lot was familiar but a lot was new – and terrifying.
Isolation and loneliness upon entering a Covid-19 unit. A claustrophobic feeling of shortness of breath. the fear. It was all there, with no friends and family around to calm his fears.
“I’m literally at work where I have a lot of friends and colleagues and none of them can come and say hello,” Burchard said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to the nurses, phlebologists and doctors who continued my treatment with a smile under their masks.”
Burkard does not know how he contracted the virus, but he knows that living with it is no joke. Two weeks after he tested positive, he is still unable to walk without difficulty breathing.
He’s been at home, having time to see social media reactions to his diagnosis from those who still can’t believe the truth about the virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans and infected 11 million others.
He said, “Lots of people have said … I’m a hoax. Someone reported me to Facebook for being a fake profile.”
He hopes some people will think twice about trying it.
“Instead of just saying mean things from behind the keyboard, imagine what that conversation looks like with someone you put a breathing tube down their throat, and they might not be able to say ‘I love you’ to the people they love again.”
Burkard says he loves being a doctor in the ER, and he lights up when he talks about getting back to work. That will have to wait until it is powerful enough for intense and tax transitions. Meanwhile, he feels guilty when he learns that his colleagues are working hard because the Coronavirus is hitting more and more people.
Burkard says there are 300 Covid-19 patients at Spectrum Health, the region’s main healthcare system. He adds that it is the biggest they have gotten since the start of the epidemic.
Burcard’s interview with CNN was the first time he left self-isolation in his apartment after leaving the hospital. He no longer gets rid of the virus, but any activity is still really difficult.
“I needed this. It’s nice to see people again,” Burchard said, blowing slightly as he started walking the short distance home.
He asked everyone to follow the directions – stay home, put on a mask, social distancing outside and sit down together for a Thanksgiving get-together to save lives and celebrate later.
He hopes it will be a cautionary tale.
“There is a lot that we don’t know about this virus,” Burchard said. “Don’t take any chances, no matter how healthy you are.”
CNN’s Jake Carpenter contributed to this report.