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Healthcare Heroes: chief medical officer describes COVID-19’s impact

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WATCH: Dr. Susan Shaw has been a practicing physician in Saskatoon for two decades, but this past year brought on unexpected challenges. – Feb 16, 2021

Dr. Susan Shaw has been practising as a physician in Saskatoon for over 20 years. She said it’s a tight-knit community that has been wonderful to work in, but things have changed this past year.

She remembers first hearing about a new virus nearly one year ago.

“We didn’t really fully know anything about it other than it was transmissible and it was coming and we needed to be prepared,” the chief medical officer said.

Read more: Healthcare Heroes — Saskatoon ER nurse describes work during pandemic

In the spring and summer, things seemed to be under control, but it got worse in the fall.

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“We started to see an increase in numbers of patients requiring hospitalization and ICU care to a point that was really concerning,” Shaw said.

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The conditions are hard to work in.

“The intensive care units in our province have never had to be this busy for this long a period of time with this number of extra patients. It’s tiring. I’d say it’s some of the most physically tiring work I’ve ever done but more than that, it’s emotionally and mentally tiring,” Shaw said about working this past year.

Read more: Healthcare Heroes — Foam Lake nurse practitioner reflects on changes with more virtual care

While it’s been a challenge, Shaw said health-care workers know how important they are right now.

“We do have successes and they really boost our spirits and remind us of why we do this work and why we love this work, but there are also many people who don’t survive and they die while we’re looking after them and it’s heartbreaking,” she said.

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