An Atlanta doctor who treats coronavirus patients has isolated himself in the garage to protect his newborn daughter and family — a sacrifice that has caught the attention of former President Barack Obama.
The Emory University Hospital emergency room physician’s wife — also a doctor who is now on maternity leave — posted the family’s story in a series of tweets Monday.
“My spouse is a physician in the emergency dept, and is actively treating #coronavirus patients,” wrote Dr. Rachel Patzer, director of Emory’s Health Services Research Center. “We just made the difficult decision for him to isolate & move into our garage apartment for the foreseeable future as he continues to treat patients.”
She continued: “We have a 3 wk old newborn and 2 young kids and just can’t risk it. This is one example of the sacrifice that healthcare workers are making for our communities.”
“As I attempt to homeschool my kids (alone) with a new baby who screams if she isn’t held, I am worried about the health of my spouse and my family,” she added. “This was not how I envisioned my maternity leave, but I know things could be worse.”
Patzer, who did not share her husband’s name, said it’s difficult for her to see others ignoring the “social distancing” requirements outlined by officials — hanging out “at bars and restaurants, socializing, making play dates … when I know my husband and many other healthcare workers are risking their lives to treat more sick patients.”
She urged the public to “please take this pandemic seriously.”
“My husband and I are really very privileged and fortunate to have a place where he can move and separate himself, for us to really do our part in social distancing,” she told CNN Tuesday. “And I know that not everyone has that luxury to do that, but really trying to listen to the public health advice to do this social distancing is really important.”
The Twitter thread has since racked up more than 266,000 likes and 55,000 retweets — one of them by the 44th president.
“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to all our health professionals and everybody who’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic for a long while,” Obama wrote Tuesday. “They’re giving everything. May we all model our own behavior on their selflessness and sacrifice as we help each other through this.”
That tweet has been liked by nearly 480,000 and shared about 84,000 times.