Dr. Prashant Phalpher, Emergency Physician
As a physician in one of Canada’s busiest Emergency Departments, Brampton Civic Hospital’s Dr. Prashant Phalpher is used to constant action and complicated cases. But the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic brought formidable new challenges.
Dr. Phalpher took on an additional role, helping to lead the COVID planning for the department. Zoom calls to establish protocols and procedures became part of daily life. Discussions with representatives from ICU, respiratory therapy teams and medicine teams ensured a cohesive response. “This was a multidisciplinary effort. Everyone was invited and that helped build a sense of shared purpose and understanding of what to expect,” explains Dr. Phalpher.
With a surge in cases always a possibility, Dr. Phalpher is motivated by the need to be prepared. “We’ve seen how devastating the pandemic has been to health care workers all across the world,” he says. “So it’s important to know that we’ve at least tried our best to prepare ourselves for that worst-case scenario and that all our staff can make it through this healthy and safe and then obviously provide the best possible care for our patients in these challenging circumstances.”
For health care workers, the gravity of the pandemic can be all-consuming. “Even when you’re home you’re thinking about what’s going on and it’s definitely taking a front seat,” says Dr. Phalpher, adding that he makes self-care a priority when he can. “I spend time doing stuff that makes me happy, whether it’s exercising, cooking, eating well,” he says. “I think it’s important for all of us, as this goes on for a longer period of time, that we take the time to make sure we’re connecting with family and friends and taking time to eat well, sleep, and deal with that stress.”
COVID-19 AND BEYOND
Attracted to Brampton’s diverse and growing community, he applied for a position with Osler 10 years ago. “I kind of on a whim applied, got the job. I started work almost immediately and then fell in love with the place,” he says.
As people gradually resume normal activities, physicians and staff must prepare for surges of COVID-19 cases while re-introducing elective procedures and providing care for patients with chronic diseases.
Dr. Phalpher is confident the team is as ready as can be: “I think we have the most talented frontline nursing staff and physicians in the GTA. Obviously some anxiety remains as to what the fall will bring, how long this will go on, but that anxiety has turned into a galvanizing force that has brought our team together.”
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