GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — David Burkard, a 28 year old ER Doctor at Spectrum is currently working on his residency, but about two weeks ago he began his trek as a patient eventually at the same hospital, due to Covid 19.
“I woke up on a Thursday morning, just not really feeling like myself. I had a fever, cough, short of breath, fatigue, all the classic symptoms”, he explained to Fox 17. But Burkard admits, as someone who runs five days a week and no underlying health concerns, he wasn’t real concerned about how it would affect him. “I am a young healthy guy. Probably prior to getting it, I probably at one point said, ‘I hope I can just get it and get it over with because I didn’t think it would hit me,” Burkard added.
Nearly a week into his journey, Burkard though he was getting better but his symptoms quickly took a turn for the worse he explains. “On day six, someone dropped a package off on my door and I got up out of bed and went and picked it up. And it’s about ten steps to my door, and I bent over and picked up the package and was like, ‘Oh, that’s not normal.’” A couple of days later, he went to his own workplace, the Spectrum Health Emergency Room, due to his dropping oxygen levels, which went from the high 90’s to the low 80’s. “That’s when you start to worry that like, your organs, your liver, kidney, brain, heart start to not get enough oxygen,” he told Fox 17.
After three days in the hospital and receiving supplemental oxygen, convalescent plasma and Remdesivir, David turned the corner and was released to go home, saying that now he thinks this experience will make him an even more compassionate Doctor once he’s allowed to return to the work that he loves. “I think it definitely changes the way I practice medicine, going into those conversations in the future. The 75 year old man who says goodbye to his 75 year old wife before we put a breathing tube in, or the 50 year old man who has to zoom with his family because he’s going downhill quickly. Those are experiences that we, as emergency medicine physicians, deal with every day. I mean, my experience was not the same, I did not have to get a breathing tube. Another takeaway is just the loneliness that I felt when I was admitted to the hospital and being able to relate to patients now on that level is something that’s important to me”, Burkard explained, and is now urging everyone to take this virus seriously as we head into a holiday season where we usually gather with family and friends.