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Question for you PAs on the front-line or otherwise. I work ER & hospital/ICU in a small hospital. We are projected by the state to hit our peak coronavirus situation in a 3-4 weeks. My wife is demanding that I give my 2 week resignation as I fall into the CDC high risk category despite being middle age and she does not want to be a widow. We have 3 preschool or younger kids and she has no family or relatives in the country as she is an immigrant so her support system is limited. It's a huge source of conflict at the moment. What would you all do?

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There are a lot of variables we don't know. The first of which, can you financially afford to quit? This can take months and months to resolve, what will you do for money during this time? 3 small children I assume your wife is not working and watching the kids?

If you don't want to (or can't) stop working, I'd tell her that no matter what we are all exposed to the virus and that at work at least you have proper PPE.

If you can and want to go on hiatus, I would try to take unpaid leave instead of quitting so that you can return to your job. Maybe FMLA would be a possibility? If your wife does work and your kids go to daycare which have closed, you can take leave to take care of them and get paid 2/3 salary based on the new CARES Act.

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My wife does not work. We have enough savings to go probably several years if we needed. Finances is not a problem though I do have my dream job. We have PPE, but being a small hospital the PPE is not ideal. We use yellow contact gowns, oversized glasses, N95 and gloves. We are asked to reuse N95. I asked about unpaid leave and the hospital said no. So while they might change their mind if I resigned as they are always short staffed, that's not certain.

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Can you PCP write you a note based on your medical problems for FMLA?  No shame in this.  I'm not a practicing PA any longer could easily return due to this pandemic but I need to be here for my elderly father.  I too have underlying health problems.....

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I would go for FMLA or CARES act over quitting.  You don't have to explain if your wife works or not.  You have kids at home and they need to be watched or could easily make a case for FMLA secondary to stress/anxiety/depression of contracting corona.  Protect your job and your family.  

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On the other end of the spectrum, take all of the appropriate precautions and more if possible, wear your PPE, become a master of donning and doffing and keep doing what you do.

The PPE you have is what the vast majority of facilities have, I've worked academics and community and that's what we got.

I'm not so sure you need to "buy a $#!? ton of life insurance right now" as working in this environment is NOT a death sentence. 

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Is your position an employment or a calling?

If it's  job, take off.  You are there to punch a clock, do your best, and go home safe and healthy at the end of your shift. Plenty of good advice on how to do this above.

If it's a calling, stay.  Explain to your wife that you have to die of something someday, and while you will be as safe as you can, your purpose in life is to tend to the sick and dying.

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Rev said it well.  

My wife is concerned about me as well, but the truth of the matter is that it is my job to take care of people.  I signed up knowing that was the case even if they have Ebola and there's a 50% chance of me dying if I get it.  

Not everyone went to school with this commitment, but most did.  I'd bet you did as this is your dream job.  It's hard to say to your wife, "I'm sorry, but this is what I signed up for."  But sometimes that's what we have to say. 

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3 hours ago, Acebecker said:

It's hard to say to your wife, "I'm sorry, but this is what I signed up for."  But sometimes that's what we have to say. 

I would never say that.  My wife and family are my world.  They did not volunteer to get sick and die because of my job.  No way.

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i am getting approached by lots of people for FMLA

only approved one

most are "I had asthma as a kid and I want a paid vacation"

 

If you are in the high risk category, and will have an exposure I would likely sign off FMLA....

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Lots of good advice here... Ill add my 0.02

Can you give a 2 week notice?  Mine is 90 days and every contract I've signed has had this clause.  Pandemic possibilities do not mitigate the contractual requirement if it exists.

FMLA - sounds like you have an out if you want to take it.

This is a personal choice - only you can do what is right for you.  There is no allegiance to the hospital as if the tables were turned, and they had to furlough you - there wouldn't be a second thought.  

G

 

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FMLA is not an option as I have only been there for 7 months. I can get out with a 2 weeks notice as I am an at-will employee rather then contract. They chose not to do a contract as I made a jump from basically a family med job with limited ER experience to doing 24hr solo coverage ER/hospitalist with doc back-up shift work. If it didn't work out, I am easy to lay off. While I would consider medicine a calling, I also have an obligation to care for my wife and 3 young kids. I also would have to say that at least personally, my wife and kids mean the world to me. Hence the dilemma. If I was single or at least without an health problems, would be a different situation.

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On 4/8/2020 at 6:41 PM, Twinpines said:

My wife does not work. We have enough savings to go probably several years if we needed. Finances is not a problem though I do have my dream job. 

I have one doc that sent his family to their vacation condo, another living in a hotel,  another PA living in an apartment and one doc has his RV parked in the yard.

Is living separately feasible if you can afford it? Or something your wife won't support?

 

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1 hour ago, ERpa2014 said:

I have one doc that sent his family to their vacation condo, another living in a hotel,  another PA living in an apartment and one doc has his RV parked in the yard.

Is living separately feasible if you can afford it? Or something your wife won't support?

 

Living separately is not the problem. She is concerned about being a widow with 3 little kids and she has no relatives in the country. I have significant lung problems, can't even go up a couple flights of stairs without becoming short of breath.

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8 hours ago, Twinpines said:

I have significant lung problems, can't even go up a couple flights of stairs without becoming short of breath.

Right there...hard stop...your employer should not even be asking you to work with COVID-19 patients.  Regardless of your age you are a high risk for a BAD case.  You may not qualify for FMLA, but you can still get a letter from your PCP explaining the situation and their recommendation.

It's one thing to consider medicine a calling and want to help.  It's another thing to walk into the situation knowing you have significant risk factors that put you at risk of literally making the situation worse (i.e. another patient on a ventilator).  This is not war.  No one should be asking you to run into a stream of bullets.

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15 hours ago, Twinpines said:

 

 

13 hours ago, Twinpines said:

  I have significant lung problems, can't even go up a couple flights of stairs without becoming short of breath.

 

 

BING

 

we have a winner!!!

 

Quit, resign, call in sick, just ghost it, something....

 

you get covid you run the risk of dying.....  right now

 

you get covid in 12 monts or 18 months (or when ever you get it, cause we are all going to get it) there might be better treatments.....

 

 

in your shoes I hate to say it, but I would get a note from your PA taking you out of work.  Medically - then let the employer figure out what to do with you..... they might just lay you off (then you get the unemployment) due to you medical condition....

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15 hours ago, Twinpines said:

Living separately is not the problem. She is concerned about being a widow with 3 little kids and she has no relatives in the country. I have significant lung problems, can't even go up a couple flights of stairs without becoming short of breath.

Ok. I second all the posts above me that you should not have contact or be working with COVID patients or suspected.  If your workplace is able to set up ipads and let you do a form of telemedicine, which we have done for our group, then this can allow you to still work. Otherwise time to GTFO. 

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Umm ya, if I had your lung problems, 3 young kids to look after, and in a financial position to coast for 1-2 years until there's a vaccine, I'd hold up in my home until then. Your kids need you. Look long and hard regarding the different options in the CARES act, there is a lot of changes to unemployment and FMLA and things like that. Consult an attorney who specializes in employment law and see what they say. Protect your job if you can, but I'd quit if I had no other choice. Working directly with COVIDs patients is not for you. You may still get it at a grocery store, from a friend, whatever, but there's lots of talk about viral load having a significant impact on disease course.

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I wish my family were more concerned about me. Everyone just assumes I am bulletproof after years as a medic and EM PA, disaster trips, years of marathons and ultras, staffing a trauma stabilization point in Iraq, etc.

I am honestly more concerned about passing it on to those I love than getting it myself. If it takes me out then it was my turn. If not, next shift, next patient, repeat.

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