When news of the novel coronavirus began spreading across the globe in late 2019, medical professionals around the world began preparing for unimaginable challenges. But few could have anticipated the extraordinary tenacity of one doctor in Houston, Texas, who defied the odds with a resilient spirit throughout a prolonged battle with the virus.
Dr. Martha Spiropoulos, an internal medicine doctor associated with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center and Memorial Hermann Greater Heights, had worked close to 715 days in a row when NPR reported on her story in April 2021. The streak began on March 13, 2020, the day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Dr. Spiropoulos made her decision to stay at the hospital 24/7 in an effort to help whenever and wherever she could. She barely had time to eat, drink, or sleep, explaining, “I just had so much patient care to do and so much going on in the hospital, I just felt like I didn’t really have a choice.”
Since she joined the hospital in 2019, Dr. Spiropoulos had taken pride in her work and tried to give 110% to any task she had been assigned. But in mid-March 2020, the intensity and complexity of the job, combined with the infectious contagiousness of the novel virus, pushed her to her limits. She worked around the clock for more than two years and witnessed some of the virus’ most devastating effects in her community.
Spiropoulos’ selfless dedication has been an inspiration to all those working in combating the pandemic. A colleague of hers had noted of her, “She’s very unflappable, very quick on her feet, really a pleasure to work with.” She has also been a source of support and compassion to her patients, many of whom have been overwhelmed and scared by the virus, saying: “I just want to make sure I’m giving them a tiny bit of dignity when they come here and giving them enough hope to get through the day.”
Dr. Spiropoulos’ relentless efforts will link her name to one of the most serious public health crises in recent history. Hers is a story of strength, resilience, and determination in the face of a daunting pandemic. Her unwavering commitment to her work has made her an example for others who have to work around the clock during the pandemic. [ad_1]
NPR’s A Martinez catches up with Dr. Joseph Varon of Houston’s United Memorial Clinical Centre about his reflections as we mark the third anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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