Lauren Tavani Sottile, MS/PA-C ’08 April 28, 2020
PCOM Heroes of the Front Line
Medical ICU Physician Assistant, ChristianaCare, Newark, Delaware
“I’ve worked in the medical ICU for almost 12 years. A lot of changes came with the
COVID-19 pandemic. … You’re constantly reading new articles and shifting your treatment
paradigm. In critical care, you’re always having conversations about goals of care.
When every conversation with a family member is over the phone and they can’t see
their loved one—that’s been really hard, harder than I thought it would be, especially
since some of the patients we have cared for have tragically passed. You hear the
desperation in the family members’ voices. All they have is you, telling them what’s
happening. … Our entire unit is COVID-19. We haven’t seen a normal ICU patient in
six weeks. … Three or four advance practice providers are scheduled every day, part
of a multidisciplinary team: the APP or the resident, the intensivist, the bedside
nurse, respiratory therapy, pharmacy. We have a whole fleet. … When we’re having a
rough day, we talk to each other about it. The hospital has a number of different
resources available for us. And in weekly team meetings, we talk out anything that’s
going on. We also try to focus on the positive moments—like when we have a good outcome.
We share the news, we celebrate it; the positive moments can really carry you through
darker ones. … Never in my life have I been thanked so much for being a healthcare
worker. Our walls in the ICU are covered with pictures and signs that children have
sent to us. I have not had to bring a meal to work in a month; every meal is donated
by someone. My coworkers have had strangers buy them gas, buy them coffee. So many
things have happened over the past six weeks that have made me see the good in people.
… When you go into health care, it’s a life of service, but you get so much more in
return than you ever put back. You don’t expect anything like this. But I think it’s
a testament to what humans can do when we’re faced with adversity and how strong we
can be when we come together. I know we’re going to get through it.”
As told to Janice Fisher
May 1, 2020
About Digest Magazine
Digest, the magazine for alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine,
is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications. The magazine reports on
osteopathic and other professional trends of interest to alumni of the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and graduate programs at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.