|Dr. Samantha Peterson|
In the middle of it was a young medical resident, Dr. Samantha Peterson. Her focus was family practice — those generalists treating everyone from newborns to the elderly for everything from colic to arthritis. But just then she happened to be doing her emergency medicine rotation.
For two months, Peterson did nothing but treat COVID-19 patients.
“Our numbers kept increasing,” Peterson recalled. “In the ER triage, all COVID patients had these biohazard symbols. In early March, there were a handful. By the end of March the entire ER was full of hazard symbols. I didn’t have a choice.”
Peterson thought she didn’t have a choice. But more experienced doctors saw it differently, and some shied away from treating COVID-19 patients. The young intern ran in while others drew back.
“We were a pretty hard hit hot zone hospital,” said Dr. Shanaz Azad, an infectious disease specialist leading the COVID-19 task force at Franciscan. “Sam Peterson was a medical resident. She really stepped up. I’d say 90 percent of the work Sam did, she volunteered to put her life in harm’s way. This is a novel virus. We didn’t know anything about it. She participated in the care of 2,000 COVID patients. She had no business seeing that many. This was all altruism. She was so inspired. So intense.”
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