Tufts Medical Center doctor treating patients on front line after recovering from coronavirus

BOSTON (WHDH) - A doctor at Tufts Medical Center has gone from battling coronavirus himself to treating patients on the front lines.

Dr. Alex Friedman is a second-year resident physician who tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago. Now that he is well again, he said he feels that experience has given him a unique perspective on treating patients

“I think the last few weeks has been the calm before the storm,” he said.

Friedman spoke to 7NEWS about his experience after waking up from a 24-hour shift.

The 28-year-old feels he is able to relate to the patients at the hospital in a much more meaningful way than he did before becoming ill.

“I had the cough and the chills. I went home Tuesday and into that evening is when I started to develop more fatigue and I think for me personally, the muscle aches was probably the worst symptom that I had,” he explained.

While he was home in self-isolation, Friedman said his own health was not his main concern.

Instead, it was his patients and colleagues he worried about.

“Essentially, as a healthcare provider and a resident, you feel like you’re somewhat of a burden, out of work. Especially at a time like this, you want to be back there helping people and not be out of work,” he said.

Friedman said it was hard sitting on the sideline.

He is just one of the many frontline health care workers putting their life on the line in order to save lives during this unprecedented pandemic.

Now that he is recovered and cleared to go back to work, Friedman said he is excited to use his first-hand knowledge to help people.

“I think they’re surprised,” he said of his patients. “A lot of them are asking for my experience was and I think it’s reassuring knowing and was back at work treating people again.”

He wants people to hear about his experience as a young healthy doctor who unfortunately contracted the virus despite there being no known cases at the hospital yet.

“People are nervous and I think it’s justifiable but I think that this is really a time that our country needs us and our community needs us,” he said.

Naturally, Friedman said there is some anxiety amongst the staff in the hallways of the hospital.

“There is still the concern of getting sick. A lot of the nurses we work with have young children or other loved ones that they leave the hospital and they go home to their lives,” he said.

According to Tufts, 77 employees — combined clinical and non-clinical — have tested positive.

Of the 31 patients at Tufts, 13 are in the Intensive Care Unity and seven are under investigation.

The numbers are still low, so doctors and nurses said they are taking this time to train and to convert areas of the hospital to COVID rooms.

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