Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Black Press file photo.

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Black Press file photo.

Isolated Abbotsford doctor issues desperate plea for the public to take drastic COVID-19 action

Dr. Brian Driedger describes state of hospital, healthcare workers and need for social distancing

Dr. Brian Driedger.

An Abbotsford doctor is pleading with Canadians and his fellow Fraser Valley residents to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

Dr. Brian Driedger, a member of Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s maternity ward, self-isolated in his home on March 18 after working a 24-hour shift at the hospital. He says if the public doesn’t follow the government’s warnings, hospital capacity, healthcare workers and their families will be put at risk.

In a series of Facebook posts – which have shared by well-over 2,400 times – he describes the situation at the Abbotsford’s hospital, and the tenacity of his fellow healthcare workers.

“The COVID onslaught is here in our hospital… This is a battle in a war that is just beginning,” Driedger said. “Today I was fighting back tears in my office as I communicated with two of our true heroes – ICU nurses who are on the front line… They both have little ones on the way, as well as little ones at home. They are the soldiers in the first wave, running out front into battle facing a hail of deadly bullets.”

After returning home to self-isolate after his full-day shift, Driedger said he was disturbed from seeing restaurants and businesses open, and people walking around the city, acting as they normally would.

“Please look at the numbers. We are in a state of emergency now, and we all need to act,” he said. “Please, please, please take this virus seriously. We should not wait for the government to tell us to shutter all non-essential businesses, and should lock ourselves down at home in isolation if we are able.

The province has “precious few” ventilators which will be needed by the increasing number of COVID-19 patients in the next two weeks, according to Driedger.

“The time for drastic action is now. Do not be lulled into complacency by the seeming calm right now,” he said. “Take every precaution possible immediately for the sake of yourselves, your family, our patients, and our country and tell all of your loved ones to go into isolation as they now are in Italy and France.”

Driedger said his decision to self-isolate was not taken lightly, but he did so for the safety of his family. He says there are many others in the health-care field who are having to make this difficult choice.

“There is a whole cohort of ER and ICU nurses, docs, RTs, unit clerks, and cleaning staff that are now are facing a living hell… They are moms, dads, sons and daughters.” he said. “It is brutal for those with young kids. For the sake of these families, please immediately take action.

“It is our one and only chance now to slow this pandemic.”

RELATED: Pregnant in a pandemic: Expectant B.C. moms change birth plans due to COVID-19

RELATED: Fraser Health limits hospital visitors to slow spread of COVID-19


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patrick.penner@abbynews.com

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