LEAD. April 2020 - Page 46

FEATURE: DEVELOPING YOUR VOLUNTEERS Facts, Fear and Faith By Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC Anne is a 77-year old female in whom we successfully placed two coronary artery stents. One week prior to seeing me, she was sent home from a hospital with the diagnosis of anxiety. Her symptoms were so classic for heart disease that I immediately consented her for a cardiac catheterization. My patient wanted facts about the procedure. I explained 1) Benefits include studying the coronary arteries, opening them with stents if needed, and relieving her of severe chest and jaw pain; 2) Risks include bleeding, stroke, heart attack, and death; 3) Alternatives include treating her with medications. For Anne, these facts led to fear. “Death? Did you say death, Dr. Sam?” she asked. “There is a slight chance, less than 1%, Anne, mostly in the critically ill patient,” I reassured her. “Ok, so, I’ll be alright, right?” “God willing, we’ll find the culprit, and get you all fixed up!” She was 46 relieved and said, “Ok, that calms me down; thank you, Dr. Sam!” Facts can lead to fear. But when facts are delivered in a logical and compassionate way, they can lead to a calm heart. The 2020 Corona Virus (Covid19; Co = Corona; Vi = Virus; D = Disease; 19 = 2019 when the virus was first detected) pandemic has taken us all by surprise. There are facts, and yet, there is false information, leading to an enormous surge in fear, panic, and despair. The facts are that the virus is highly contagious; it’s transmitted by aerosol droplets that end up on our hands with which we inevitably touch our face; it easily gets into our system once it contacts our eyes, nasal passages or mouths; it has overwhelmed hot spots like New York City; it originated in Wuhan, China and spread throughout the world.