In the movie Final Destination, victims tend to have near misses before their final death.
I have had near misses of infectious diseases throughout my short career. Once, I had in contact with a patient who had suspected Meningitis. I received a prophylactic shot in my arm because I was pregnant at the time.
Some time down the line, I was in contact with a patient who had pulmonary TB and is on active treatment. He did not declare he had the illness until I saw his family coming in with masks. It looked a bit odd to see these people all in masks when they had no symptoms. It is as though he was immuno-compromised. When I asked them the reason behind the mask, one of the more younger family member said her father has TB.
Trust me, I was furious. Because I was also pregnant at the time. I asked a colleague to take over but I felt sad for the other HCW who tended to him earlier in closer proximity. The patient was very defensive. He said there was no need for us to know. He said if we knew he had TB, we will owe his back pain to TB. Stupid people exist. Little did he know that he was imposing harm to not only us but for other unsuspecting patients.
And now we have COVID-19. People tend to forget that those working in primary care are also front liners – for we are who the patients see first in ill events. Any front liner is risking chancing upon a COVID positive patient during the consultation. Let us just pray that everything will go well.
COVID could be walking around us.