Coronavirus hits home for MGH doctor who believes he infected his wife

BOSTON (WHDH) - The coronavirus pandemic hit home for a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital who believes he brought the disease home to his wife.

Life for emergency medicine physician Dr. Al Raja has been very different since the coronavirus outbreak began.

“We are not seeing the patients that come in with broken ankles or belly pain,” he said. “The problem is, that the patients who are coming are really sick and a lot of them have symptoms of the coronavirus.”

Raja said the hospital is building Intensive Care Units where they did not exist before and that they are prepared for the anticipated surge which is expected to come any day.

While staff in the emergency room are trained for the worst, Raja said his biggest concern is how long that surge may last.

“The uncertainty and the unpredictability is what is making this so hard for us,” he said.

According to the hospital, 239 patients have tested positive for the virus and 107 are being cared for in the ICU.

One hundred and forty-four more patients are waiting to learn the results of their tests.

Nearly 230 employees, both clinical and non-clinical, have also tested positive.

For Raja and his colleagues, that statistic is a major concern.

Despite testing negative, Raja said his wife began feeling sick and he fears he may have been the one to pass it on.

“I can’t think of anything else it would’ve explained her symptoms the way that it did. Given what I do for a living and given that there is a false-negative rate for the test, I have to believe she had it and we acted like she did,” he said. “But, she’s on her way up and that makes me feel a lot better and a lot less guilty for what I brought home.”

Some healthcare workers are opting to stay away from their families during this uncertain time in an effort to keep them safe from the risk.

However, Raja said that not having that family support can be really tough and many times, healthcare professionals rely on it.

“That is a problem because our biggest support systems of our families and to take us during this really stressful time and separate us from that makes an already stressful system even worse,” he explained.

Raja said his wife is doing much better.

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