Seeing the pandemic through the eyes of communism
A physician who fled communist Yugoslavia saw the COVID-19 pandemic “through two eyes.” On the one hand, she perceived it from a doctor’s perspective; on the other hand, she looked at it through the eyes of someone who grew up under communism.
Dr. Kat Lindley, a family physician and president of the Texas branch of the American Academy of Physicians and Surgeons, grew up in former communist Yugoslavia and lived there until she was 18 years old.
During the economic and political turmoil that spread through the country in the 1980s, her family, worrying about Lindley’s future, arranged a job for her in Italy, she recalled.
“I actually left one day before the [civil] war started in Yugoslavia,” Lindley said in a recent interview on EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Lindley was working part-time at an urgent care facility while transitioning her private practice to a new facility.
At the beginning of the pandemic, doctors at the facility were seeing all patients, including those who potentially had COVID-19, Lindley said.
One day, Lindley saw a patient complaining of congestion, whose oxygen level was unusually low, so she sent the patient to the hospital, where the person died a few days later.
After that incident, the urgent care center told its personnel not to see COVID-19-suspected patients anymore. Lindley said. Anyone who came with COVID-19 symptoms was sent to the hospital to be triaged through the hospital.
“I’m considered ‘frontline,’” Lindley said. Frontline providers are supposed to diagnose the patent and treat them as best they can, she explained, despite the inherent risk. “We accept that risk,” she said.
Lindley said that the decision to send patients directly to the hospital did not make sense from a doctor’s standpoint. Then, she started seeing it through the lens of her experience under communism and began recognizing the fear emanating from media reports about how the virus spread in China and New York and how many people died of COVID-19.
By Ella Kietlinska and Jan Jekielek