For those of you who don’t know me, I am one of the frontline ER docs and a also a hospitalist and family doc here in North Bay. I have 22 years in so far, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that we are about to be the biggest health care “battle” of my entire career. I have treated patients during SARS, the EColi0157 outbreak, H1N1 and a 19 inmate prison riot from the old Kingston Pen in the early days of HepC, and never have I been so concerned for the safety of my nurses and fellow staff. I contracted H1N1 myself in its first week as there was no vaccine available and we were caught flat-footed with inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at that time, and I was down for the count for 6 days straight; I would have been hospitalized were my wife not also an MD.

This time, we in North Bay are blessed with forewarning and a the knowledge of how to best protect ourselves. But supplies are going to run low. I need to ask you and those you know to consider the following two things:

1) if you know of the whereabouts of any extras of the following items (for instance, many of us are hobbyists or have workshops. Some of us might have thought about preparedness for our families), please contact me as soon as possible. My wife already has a small squad of people producing handmade items, but I also want my staff to have the best protection possible:

  • unused paper surgical masks or dust masks (with the ear loops)
  • unused N95 masks (either cup-style or folding)
  • canister respirators with windowed face (not goggle eyes like military gas mask)
  • flip-down clear convex face-shields (not tinted)
  • unused boxes of latex or nitrile disposable examination gloves

Please contact me at callanderlakeside@gmail.com. Rather than immediate drop-off at the hospital, which will start to heat up even more soon, I wonder that donations could be arranged at my clinic or a clean location to keep the donors safe.

2) please consider focusing your information gathering on the following sites:

There has been so much disinformation on the web and so much flaunting of the shelter-in-place order that it is harming our efforts, and the “curve” of Canada’s spread is still higher than that of many European countries and far worse than much of Asia. We have a wider-spread population, which helps. The only thing that is protecting us from a higher death rate is the fact that Canada has one of the best health care systems in the world once you end up within the walls of my hospital. The problem is, folks…the “enemy” is about to breach the walls.

Stay safe, and please help protect my family, patients, my nurses and fellow staff. I hope to not see you in my ER, but if I do, I will use what equipment I still have and do my utmost to help you and yours.

Dr. James Truong

Callander, Ontario.