Pediatric surgeon, 34, and his wife, 31, a physician assistant, have vastly altered their home routine to prevent the risk of exposure to their 16-month-old daughter. Dr. Sathya works for the Northwell Health System in New York, which has hundreds of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, Dr. Sathya said in an interview. He did not want to disclose his wife’s name or institution, but said she works in a COVID-19 unit at a New York hospital.
When his wife returns home, she removes all of her clothes and places them in a bag, showers, and then isolates herself in the bedroom. Dr. Sathya brings his wife meals and then remains in a different room with their baby.
“It’s only been a few days,” he said. “We’re going to decide: Does she just stay in one room at all times or when she doesn’t work for a few days then after 1 day, can she come out? Should she get a hotel room elsewhere? These are the considerations.”
They employ an older nanny whom they also worry about, and with whom they try to limit contact, said Dr. Sathya, who practices at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. In a matter of weeks, Dr. Sathya anticipates he will be called upon to assist in some form with the COVID crisis.
“We haven’t figured that out. I’m not sure what we’ll do,” he said. “There is no perfect solution. You have to adapt. It’s very difficult to do so when you’re living in a condo in New York.”
For Dr. Griggs, life is much quieter at home without her husband and two “laughing, wiggly,” toddlers. Weekends are now defined by resting, video calls with her family, and exercising, when it’s safe, said Dr. Griggs, who recently penned a New York Timesabout the pandemic and is also active on regarding personal protective equipment. She calls her husband her “rock” who never fails to put a smile on her face when they chat from across the miles. Her advice for other health care couples is to take it “one day at a time.”
“Don’t try to make plans weeks in advance or let your mind go to a dark place,” she said. “It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. The only way to get through this is to focus on surviving each day.”
Editor’s Note, 3/31/20: Due to incorrect information provided, the hospital where Dr. Sathya’s wife works was misidentified. We have removed the name of that hospital. The story does not include his wife’s employer, because Dr. Sathya did not have permission to disclose her workplace and she wishes to remain anonymous.