We salute all those fighting on the frontlines in the battle against the coronavirus. They come in all shapes and colors and from all walks of life. Many look like us. Today we salute Dr. Sonya Marks. Dr. Marks is an Obstetrician-Gynecologist working at an Atlanta-area hospital. A smart, funny, soft-spoken woman, Dr. Marks is a fierce fighter in the battle against this virus. She has been in the birthing business and women’s health for almost 20 years. Each day Dr. Sonya goes about the most rewarding work of bringing lives into the world, now in the midst of a scary, even frightening time.
Obstetricians have always had the greatest concern for their patients, but it’s even higher now for moms, babies and themselves. And she’s not removed from the day to day contact of the spread of the virus, due to the second part of her title, Gynecologist. Dr. Marks comes in contact with the virus as a result of gynecology-related calls to the Emergency Room.
The day-to-day is different for all of us, especially so for those dealing with life and death. Each day medical professionals are tasked with keeping patients safe while staying up to date with new information about the virus and staying safe themselves.
Life in the labor room is different in the age of the virus. As always, the medical personnel are wearing masks. Now, Moms are required to wear masks along with her “support member.” And that’s different too. Instead of the family members and friends gathering around the woman in labor, thIs hospital can only allow one person to support Mom during the process.
It is far from an easy task. Some patients aren’t helping. One woman refused to wear a mask. She coughed in Dr. Marks’s face and then laughed. And still, Dr. Marks maintains her composure and keeps her oath to help the sick.
Keeping people safe does not end at the hospital doors. Dr. Marks is the mother of two, a 13-year-old son and a daughter home from college. How does she protect them? Like other doctors, Sonya understands the risk of exposure, that she could be a carrier, so she maintains her distance. She comes home, disinfects, and retreats to her bedroom. Her children are old enough to understand, sort of. Other doctors have moved to hotels or live in their garages in order to protect their loved ones.
This is not Dr. Marks’s first encounter with an infectious disease. She was working in Texas during the Ebola crisis. The difference she says, is in the preparation. Training was provided, precautions were taken. The difference is in the management of this crisis. The response to the coronavirus is reactive, not proactive as it was during the Ebola crisis.
What’s the message that Dr. Sonya wants to share? “The coronavirus pandemic and risk of exposure are real. It’s no longer over there. It is here. The impact of losing family or friends is real. I want our community to do everything they can to protect themselves by staying home when they can, social distancing is helping to prevent exposure. Of course, wash your hands often, sing the songs while doing so. Listen to experts and stay informed from proper sources they trust. Follow the recommended precautions for themselves and their households. That would go a long way.”
And one more thing. “If they have healthcare professionals that come home to them, show them a little extra TLC and encouragement. It really does keep us going.” Great advice from the Doctor. Keep up the great work and please be safe, Dr. Sonya Marks.