Cottage ER Doc, Dr. Prystowsky Lays It on the Line

By Mitchell Kriegman   |   March 26, 2020
Dr. Jason J. Prystowsky

On date March 18, 2020, Dr. Jason J. Prystowsky, the ER Doctor at Cottage Hospital, gave a webinar talk to over a thousand participants including first responders, hospital workers, and support staff to update everyone on the coronavirus from the ER perspective. Emergency Rooms all over the country are getting slammed by every variation of concern about health issues and the coronavirus. A drastic lack of testing and general information in the public has made ER rooms even more intense than ever as it comes on top of other regular ER services.

He covered the status of the virus, preparations, and procedures. As we all know the situation has continued to change exponentially. With a keen sense of humor and humanity, Dr. P managed to deliver the entire presentation from home with a little good-humored prompting from his wife in the background to be succinct.

Although his presentation was only a week ago, this is a fast-moving story and events have continued to move very quickly. However, there were a number of aspects to the presentation that resonated the perception and social issues that have overwhelmed the public and hospital workers. He did his best to dispel those misperceptions.

We in Healthcare are at High Risk of Getting this

Dr. Prystowsky: A lot of people are saying, this isn’t going to affect me. I’m young and healthy. 0% mortality for young and healthy people. Well we in healthcare are high risk of getting this. When you look at the China data, before they knew that there was a big outbreak, 63% of healthcare workers caught it.

People are recovering from this. And I just want to say this is not, you know, World War Z. This is not the zombie apocalypse. When someone coughs on you, you’re not going to turn into a zombie thirty seconds later and start eating someone’s brain. People are recovering, but this is impacting us.

Should you prescribe Tylenol or ibuprofen? The data is limited that said Tylenol may be better. I’ve seen the science and there’s some experts out there that think Tylenol is better, but we don’t have good data. So maybe now Tylenol is better.

“So Here’s A Public Service Announcement: Don’t Be Racist.”

Dr. Prystowsky: Start planning appropriately for social distancing and do it in a really calm, respectful way. Hate crimes are going up globally. When I first heard about how this was impacting our Asian American community one of my students came to me and said how scared she was and how she was getting bullied. So, here’s a public service announcement: don’t be racist. Just don’t be racist. If you see people being racist, tell them to stop because this virus doesn’t care what color skin you have or what language you speak or what your political affiliation is. It does care how old you are and what your comorbidities are.

Frightened, selfish, misinformed people can be much more dangerous than this virus. So please do your part to spread good, reliable information.

Communities that can do this Together are Going to do Better

Dr. Prystowsky: We need to do it together as a community becausecommunities that can do this together are going to do better… In public health, we use this principle called “harm reduction.” You can’t eliminate risk. What you can do is make it less risky. Airbags and seat belts do not prevent automobile deaths, but it’s better to have airbags and seat belts because they reduce harm. Social distance will not eliminate the spread, but it’s better to do it than to not. We’re engaged in it in a group collective harm reduction strategy. And we need to do it together as a community because communities that can do this together are going to do better. And communities that are every person for themselves.

So, if you take home a 95 (mask) a year, you could potentially be taking it away from someone who needs it to do their job. And that’s it’s important for me to get that message across. 95 is not going to keep you safe, you staying home is going to keep you safe. But our first responders, our healthcare personnel need this personal protective equipment to do our job and there’s an international shortage of them. So please don’t steal them.

You know, we got this, we’re Santa Barbara. We had the Thomas Fire. We had the debris flow. We come together when our community needs us, and we will continue to come together, and we will prevail.


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