|Dr. Roy Werner (photo for the Sun-Times by Ashlee Rezin Garcia)|
Paul Kalanithi’s 2016 posthumous memoir “When Breath Becomes Air” was a big best-seller for obvious reasons. Here was a brilliant neurosurgeon facing terminal lung cancer, grappling with death at a young age.
It also served up one of those prince-and-the-pauper role reversals that capture the public’s imagination. The bold, resourceful doctor becomes the fearful, helpless patient, perched on an examining table in a thin cotton gown, awaiting his fate. The proud made humble.
When I was writing Monday’s column on how hospitals are faring at this point in the COVID-19 epidemic, I came upon a digression too lengthy to fit in but too interesting to leave out.
I was talking with Dr. Roy Werner, director of the department of emergency medicine at Roseland Community Hospital, about whether medical personnel are more at risk in the intensive care unit, masked and gowned and leaning over a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator, or sitting in their living room at home with their children traipsing in and out.
“My family has been fantastically supportive,” said Werner, who lives in Huntley. “I have a wife who really gets it. We have two teenaged kids, and I’ve been able to explain it to them. I had COVID a few weeks ago, stayed in one room of the house, the kids did their own things.”
I asked how the illness affected him.
To continue reading, click here.