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Doctor at hospital dedicated to severe COVID-19 cases: 'I’m running on fumes'

Doctor working at hospital dedicated to severe COVID cases: 'I’m running on fumes'
Posted at 1:58 PM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 09:17:36-04

A doctor is opening up about working at one of the first hospitals in the country dedicated solely to treating people with severe cases of COVID-19.

“Hope gave way to frustration as heartwarming images of mutual sacrifice were replaced by images of protest about the sanctity of dining out and getting haircuts,” said Dr. Ben Trappey at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. “Now, even frustration has given way to bone deep sense of weariness and resignation. I’m running on fumes.”

Trappey spent nearly three months away from his wife, quarantining at a hotel while caring for patients at Bethesda Hospital near Minneapolis.

He destresses through reflective writing and teaches it to other residents and physicians.

His essay “Running on Fumes” was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It reflects how he feels still being on the front lines of COVID-19, but not feeling like the rest of the world is behind him.

“The thing that made me feel most supported early on was just that everybody was making these sacrifices together and now when there are so many people who refuse to acknowledge that a sacrifice even needs to be made is really frustrating,” said Trappey.

He says one of his challenges is not knowing which COVID-19 patients will get better.

Many hospitals have provided support like counseling and buddy systems.

Trappey is now on parental leave at home with his wife and newborn son.

“It’s hard to think about what things will be like as we get further into the fall and we have other respiratory viruses in place as well. It’s pretty worrisome, so I’m just trying not to let myself think too much about that,” said Trappey.

The doctor says he hopes people realize they're not alone in the pandemic.

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

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State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27

Rosamond Library
3611 Rosamond Blvd, Rosamond CA 93560

Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin

Wasco Library
1102 7th Street




County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa Wheelchair Logo
  • For Registration call (760) 379-2681 ext 267
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Wednesday - Thursday from 7 am - 2 pm.
Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561

Lamont - Kern County Library
8304 Segrue Road, Lamont, CA 93241
  • For registration call 661-869-6018
  • Drive-Thru and Walk-Up<
  • Testing available for ages 5+ only; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9 am - 2 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 2 pm - 7 pm

Taft - West Side Health Care District
  • For Registration call (661) 765-1935
  • Drive-Thru<
  • TTesting available for all ages; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 11 am – 3 pm