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First-hand Insight Into Fighting COVID-19

First-hand Insight Into Fighting COVID-19


Morristown, N.J. (April 13, 2020) – As a physician assistant working in a large, urgent care, primary care and family practice medicine clinic, Pam Lee is on the front lines of NJ’s battle against COVID-19.

Also a professor in Saint E's M.S. in Physician Assistant program, Pam recently shared with the College what it's like to be fighting this crisis side-by-side under the leadership of her medical director, Dr. John Pilla, along with other doctors, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants, radiology technicians, receptionists, phone nurses, lab technicians, insurance workers and the community.

The Saint Elizabeth University is blessed to have such a knowledgeable medical professional as a professor in our physician assistant program.

This is a first-hand look at the coronavirus pandemic in her words.

“We are in the belly of the beast. Stay focused. We will see this through until the end.”

This is the email that we received from our clinic’s medical director/physician on April 7, 2020. It has been a month now since New Jersey declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

How do I feel? How do we feel? How do we function being out there as the first line responders amid this COVID-19 pandemic? Do we shrink hearing this news or gear up as individuals and as a TEAM to continue going? We are out there being the hands and feet for so many who are sick, lost, scared, panicked and, frequently, hopeless.

Such a big ship, with 141 employees, moving in a unified unit wouldn’t have happened without the strong leadership of our medical director, Dr. John Pilla. With great leadership, clear proactive instruction and being the first to go out to the parking lot to see patients, he set such a great inspiring example for all of us.

Being among this extraordinary committed group, I see and hear the hearts of those impacted by coronavirus firsthand. I am PROUD to be a physician assistant, the position God has placed me, being out there serving the community when the majority of world is staying home.

We are the very few human beings privileged to touch those who are so hurt, scared and sick…where the rest of the world, even their own family members, may not want to or able to be near them.

I remember one patient, 20+ years old and sick with a 101-degree fever, sitting in the car when I went to see him. He was crying. He was crying not because he was sick but because he just said goodbye to his dad, sick with COVID-19, who “may not make it." He drove the car himself because no one was able to or wanted to come near him. He has been sleeping in the basement of the house. I felt honored to be there, not only just in treating him medically, but there to listen and give a gentle touch and mental, spiritual support.

There are so many untold stories. I am proud to be out there to be hands and feet during this time.