The Patient Connection

The Patient Connection


As a disease investigator at
CDC I have to draw upon a lot of different skills because
I need to connect the dots from numerous sources and
types of information in order to protect the public’s health. My experience as a doctor
is one of the skills that I bring to my job. In addition to leading
a division at CDC I still see patients as an infectious
disease consultant. In many ways, the
patients that I see in the hospital connect
my work in public health. For example, not long ago,
I was asked to see a patient in the intensive care unit. He had a severe illness
with a quick onset, he was hospitalized
just the night before but when I saw him he
was nearly comatose. I connected with this patient because he was just 52 years
old, had two young children, but also had severe diabetes. I knew that he had a severe
infection in his blood and possibly in his brain. Even before the laboratory
called me that afternoon to describe what they were
seeing in his cultures, I suspected that he had
a rare but severe form of foodborne illness
caused by listeria. Despite being treated
with the best antibiotics, he died the next day. I think about patients
like him when I work at CDC as an epidemiologist tracking
and investigating outbreaks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *