A doctor fighting to save lives in New York City has shared a heart-wrenching “goodbye” message for her young children on social media in case she doesn’t make it out of the pandemic alive.
On March 29, 2020, pediatric surgery fellow Dr. Cornelia Griggs posted a photo of herself on Twitter dressed in head-to-toe personal protective equipment (PPE). “My babies are too young to read this now,” read the doctor’s moving caption. “And they’d barely recognize me in my gear.”
“But if they lose me to COVID,” Griggs continued, “I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job.”
My babies are too young to read this now. And they’d barely recognize me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job. #GetMePPE #NYC pic.twitter.com/OMew5G7mjK
— Cornelia Griggs (@CorneliaLG) March 29, 2020
The surgeon added two hashtags to her post, #GetMePPE and #NYC, as a shout-out to her comrades on the front lines. As of March 31, Griggs’s post has been retweeted over 120,000 times. Many netizens left supportive comments for the doctor, commending her for her contribution and offering her reassurance that her kids would grow up knowing their heroic mother.
“Earlier, children used a cape to think of themselves as superheroes,” wrote one supporter. “The children of the future will wear PPEs to show themselves as superheroes. That’s a superhero outfit.”
“You are going to be rocking your grandchildren & telling them stories about how you helped save the world,” wrote another, adding, “We love you. Thank you so much!”
It is not the first time that Griggs has spoken out about the state of affairs in New York City’s hospitals during the virus outbreak. In an article written for The New York Times on March 19, Griggs described the surge in cases and lack of resources as a “crisis for our vulnerable patients and healthcare workers alike.”
“Protective equipment is only one of the places where supplies are falling short,” Griggs explained. “The sky is falling. I say this not to panic anyone but to mobilize you. We need more equipment and we need it now.”
Healthcare workers nationwide have echoed Griggs’s concern about dwindling resources. In a social media survey conducted by NBC News and published on March 20, feedback from over 250 front line healthcare workers indicated that the clinics, hospitals, and offices where they worked were running out of supplies.
One nurse from Flint, Michigan, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job, regaled placing an order for five containers of disinfectant wipes and only receiving one.
“One container of bleach wipes for 42 beds,” the nurse told NBC News. “I don’t feel like my hospital is failing us, it’s the whole system that’s failing us.”
In an interview with CNN after her moving Twitter post went viral, Griggs clarified that she felt “proud and privileged” to be a doctor. Her heroes, she said, are the people she works with.
Griggs nonetheless decided to provide a safety net for her children by filing some important paperwork. “Last weekend, my husband, who is also a surgeon,” Griggs explained, “we sat down and we wrote our will. It felt like the adult, responsible thing to do as two parents and healthcare workers at this moment in time.”
Harvard Surgery Research day with my brilliant husband pic.twitter.com/ubGovpkn1p
— Cornelia Griggs (@CorneliaLG) May 7, 2016
To date, New York City is the worst-hit city in the United States by the pandemic. As per The Independent, on March 30, the city’s authorities approved the construction of a 68-bed field hospital in Central Park to help accommodate the overflow of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, patients from New York City hospitals.
Griggs’s heartfelt “goodbye” note to her young children exemplifies the contribution of all healthcare professionals in this uncertain time. It is also a plea for citizens everywhere to stay home, remain safe, and work toward the best possible outcome for everybody.
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Author: Louise Bevan