A CHEST member since 1996, Carolyn M. D’Ambrosio, MD, FCCP, remembers the early stages of the pandemic—how we watched case numbers rise in other parts of the world, and worked to prepare for what would soon hit the United States. She hurriedly created schedules to staff multiple ICUs and trained her team on the proper use of infrequently used equipment, all while keeping up with new data that arrived daily.
“We went from zero to 60 in a minute,” D’Ambrosio recalls, as she cared for critically ill patients and dealt with the heartbreaking nature of those patients facing death isolated from family and loved ones. “CHEST kept us all up to date on the latest information on COVID via emails and social media.”
Dr. D’Ambrosio, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, was trained as a triage officer and served on the Crisis Standards of Care for her institution. She shares how so many people, from friends to colleagues to nonprofit organizations, were lifelines during that harrowing season and how CHEST provided several avenues of support.
“I had a very sick pregnant woman with COVID-19 on my team. I contacted two physicians who specialize in critical care during pregnancy—Drs. Stephen Lapinsky and Tim Crozier, who I met through the CHEST Women’s Health NetWork. They were an amazing resource of information and support.”
Additionally, D’Ambrosio points to CHEST’s Wellness Wednesday live discussion as an instrumental professional activity, where colleagues were able to share and encourage one another. Last years’ experiences left her, like so many others, feeling grateful to be a part of the medical community, proud of the work being done, and hopeful about what can be accomplished moving forward.
“Although it isn’t over, the pandemic really showed us how we can rally and give top-notch care to more patients than we could have ever imagined, and how we can move science forward quickly to understand a new disease and figure out treatments and vaccines.”
Dr. D’Ambrosio is a Board of Trustee member, chair of the CHEST Foundation Women & Pulmonary Work Group, and the Ex Officio of the Women’s Lung Health NetWork. We are proud to partner with gifted and dedicated leaders like Dr. Ambrosio, and we thank her for her continued investment and leadership within the medical community.