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'People's decisions will decide whether I live or die': Calgary ER doctor urges people to stay home
CALGARY -- Calgary emergency room physician Dr. Joe Vipond went into medicine to help people, especially in times of crisis.
That time in his career has never been more apparent than now.
"It's an honour to be on the frontlines helping," Dr. Vipond told CTV News while preparing to head off to work at one of three emergency departments where he splits his time.
He's entrenched in the city's fight against COVID-19 – an opponent invisible to the eye.
"Not only do we not know if the person with the ankle sprain that has no symptoms at all might be carrying it, but also my nursing colleague next to me might be carrying it, or my doctor colleagues," says Vipond.
He's already been tested for coronavirus once and likely will be tested again numerous times before the pandemic is brought under control.
Because of that reason, Vipond has chosen to live apart from his family to protect them.
"An illness of this severity, I don't want my kids or my wife having the chance of getting it from me, that would be horrific," he says.
It's just one of the many selfless sacrifices medical professionals around the world are making right now; choosing the collective good over their own.
He is, however, asking for something in return.
"We're very reliant on the public doing what they've been asked to do. If people are physically isolating, are minimizing their contact with the public (then) we can really flatten that curve that everyone's talking about and protect me and my colleagues," Vipond says.
"People's decisions will decide whether I live or die."
Alberta hospitals haven't been pushed to the brink as they have in some countries and, based on data models from provincial health officials, Dr. Vipond believes they won't be. But that's only as long as people continue to do their part.
Dr. Vipond is the first in a series of Calgary frontline workers being featured by CTV News. If you have a suggestion for who we should profile next, email firstname.lastname@example.org.