“Corona: An Inside Report from the Front Lines” – with Dr. Zevy Hamburger

Dr. Zevy Hamburger, an obstetrical anesthesiologist, discusses his experience as part of Mount Sinai Hospital’s rapid response team to the Coronavirus outbreak with Dr. Fox. Dr. Hamburger has been on the front lines of the outbreak, but explains several reasons why he remains hopeful. He was also infected with the virus himself, and discusses his family’s experience with COVID-19.  

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Dr. Zevy Hamburger talks about his experience on the “front lines” of the coronavirus outbreak in New York City as part of Mount Sinai Hospital’s rapid response team and why he is “very hopeful” about the situation. Early in the outbreak, Dr. Hamburger helped set protocols for operating rooms and the labor and delivery unit to keep patients safe and healthy, such as guidelines for wearing and managing protective gear and transporting patients between units. Now, he is assisting other physicians, fellows, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare workers as they set up temporary ICUs and respond to COVID-19.  

A hospital’s rapid response team is designed, as Dr. Fox puts it, to allow hospitals to “call 911” in times of emergency for additional help. The rapid response team is typically composed of an ICU doctor matched with fellows, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and other professionals who can comanage a situation and help make a “game plan” for patient care. Dr. Hamburger notes that hospitals have been relatively successful in adapting to the current situation, and that their response, coordination, and knowledge has improved. They are adapting treatments rapidly, using knowledge they’ve gained only in recent weeks to more successfully treat patients and setting up temporary ICUs “very efficiently and professionally.” He says that people outside the hospital seem to be successfully “flattening the curve,” while those inside are doing a good job “raising the line” of their capacity to treat patients.  

Dr. Hamburger also experienced the virus first-hand as he was infected in March. He explains that he likely became infected in his community, not at the hospital, and that it spread to his immediate family but none required hospitalization of experienced major symptoms. Dr. Hamburger notes that currently, it is difficult to determine whether a person will develop immunity to the virus or how long they may be contagious; it’s best to consult your personal physician to help you navigate the changing data.  

Dr. Zevy Hamburger is an anesthesiologist and Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Hamburger attended Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed a residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is board certified in Anesthesiology and specializes in obstetrical anesthesiology.