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Manhattan, Kan. doctor joins front-line fight against COVID in NYC

Dr. Steve Short, a pulmonologist from Manhattan, Kan., shared a snapshot of his team caring for...
Dr. Steve Short, a pulmonologist from Manhattan, Kan., shared a snapshot of his team caring for COVID-19 patients in New York City. (Courtesy: Steve Short)(WIBW)
Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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When Dr. Steve Short answered a request from his professional group to help treat COVID-19 patients in New York, he thought he'd travel from Manhattan, Kan. to join a team of specialists on the ground.

When he arrived at his assigned Brooklyn hospital nearly a week ago, he was the only critical care pulmonologist on site to treat patients stricken with a novel virus, savagely attacking their lungs.

"Everybody has COVID," Dr. Short said. "Every hospital is full to the brim. It’s stacked with beds. Everybody’s on a ventilator - and there’s no way to stabilize these people I cannot explain medically how bad it is."

Dr. Short, who practices at Inspire ENT and Pulmonology, said he has quickly bonded with a team of dedicated health care professionals, as well as the patients who simply want help.

But it is difficult to lose so many of them every day.

"It’s difficult to deal with dying and death, and families not being able to be a part of it," he said.

Dr. Short initially told his family and colleagues he'd be taking one week off. Now, with patients still arriving - and dying - he feels he's where he needs to be.

"When I got here and just saw and heard about the grim realities, it just faces you like this is really kind of like a war zone," he said.

Dr. Short says he expects to stay four to six weeks, perhaps longer if needed. He is chronicling the experience in a journal of sketches. He says he's compiled similar journals of trips in the past, but realizes this one may be more important.

"I guess my message is it’s real...It’s sad and real," he said. "Let’s all pray, let’s make it go away. I’m so thankful I’m here. I’m glad I’m making a difference."