When the first wave of Covid hit, one of the senior doctors in my group said he "could still remember the taste of the N95 mask during SARS." SARS was in 2003. It's now twenty years later. Would you say that we learned from the mistakes of SARS? Were we prepared for Covid?
I didn't experience the full fear and madness of SARS since I was still a medical student in Toronto. Our staff doctors kept us out of the hospitals to be safe. I remember that no one talked about what it felt like to survive the outbreak even though several staff doctors I knew almost died.
Let me repeat that. No one talked about SARS.
If you lived through SARS and said "never again" but are now living through Covid, I ask you this: what will change? What changes will you make now so that you have the strength and will and courage to face the next pandemic?
I am not special. The only difference between me and those who experience burnout is that I decided to change. I didn't wait for the world to change and save me.
I believe the biggest changes will come when the whole system of healthcare is healthy and the culture of medicine is less toxic. But the world is not going to change anytime soon.
I have to change. Then I have to change the world.