I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Tamar Garzón, a Medical Internist at Hospital Santa Caterina in Girona. Tamar explains in this interview the strategies of the hospital, and the extraordinary effort her team was going through to manage the crisis.
Hospital Santa Caterina is a health organization located in Girona, Spain. Due to its geographical location and the fast spread of the coronavirus, the hospital and its staff had to proactively adapt and to adjust to the new situation to provide quality healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How it has been the experience of working on the frontline during these months?
The experience of working on the frontline was very hard at the beginning, both physically and emotionally. We all learned little by little to manage our emotions and the medical and personal situations that appeared every day. And even though it was an enormous emotional burden we all built a good working environment.
What moments will you never forget?
I will never forget those patients that after a hard fight against COVID-19, they were able to leave the hospital on their own after a huge round of applause from all staff.
How did you organize at the hospital?
The organization at the hospital has changed along the weeks according to the number of COVID-19 patients, the availability of resources, and our knowledge about the disease. To highlight: i) nowadays we still have a specialized floor at the hospital specifically for COVID-19 patients and ready to manage new COVID-19 cases, ii) we maintain a “COVID-free” floor at the hospital, with an accurate clinical management of patients with suspected COVID-19, and iii) the hospital outpatient consultation takes care of the follow up of those post-COVID patients in order to evaluate their symptoms after the infection.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been the cause of many of the technological breakthroughs in the past several years. One of the most promising areas of health innovation is the application of AI, primarily in medical imaging. Now, several tools have emerge using artificial intelligence to detect COVID-19 in less than 10 seconds using chest-x-rays. Do you think that an AI-based tool able to interpret chest-x-rays to diagnose and predict the evaluation of a COVID-19 patient would help you?
I’m very convinced that an AI-based tool would facilitate our work, especially in emergency situation or under a huge healthcare system pressure, as it has happened with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are you ready for a second wave of COVID-19?
Not being ready in not an option.