Home COVID-19 Understanding COVID-19: Your Qs Answered via IG Live with Dr. Deena Adimoolam 4/22 at 8:30PM

Understanding COVID-19: Your Qs Answered via IG Live with Dr. Deena Adimoolam 4/22 at 8:30PM

by Arielle Witter
Attain Medspa
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and as new developments come to light, there are a plethora of questions surrounding it. From questions regarding symptoms + how the manifest to better understanding how to take the proper precautions to protect your health — there are a lot of questions out there. Enter Dr. Deena Adimoolam — this Jersey City resident and Mount Sinai physician is joining the Hoboken Girl team on Wednesday, April 22nd live on our Instagram account for a special Q+A. She’ll be answering some of the most pressing COVID-related FAQs locals have, some of the challenges she and other healthcare workers have faced, taking your Qs live, and a whole lot more. Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Adimoolam + our IG live:

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About Dr. Deena

Prior to our IG live, we want to make sure you get to know a little about Dr. Adimoolam, so we sat down with her for a quick Q+A to provide some background info on her and her career.

Where do you live? For how long?

In Jersey City for six years.

What is your occupation? How long have you worked there?

I am a physician at Mount Sinai for six years.

What was your original career plan? How did you get into this career?

Since I was young – I always loved science, solving problems and helping others. I spent a lot of time volunteering in nursing homes and hospitals since I was six years old as a girl scout, which made me realize the value of helping those in need.

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In high school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor and was really lucky to get into a highly competitive combined seven-year BA/MD program {these programs allow for direct admission into medical school from college}.

During college, my career took a turn when I fell in love with musical theatre, so I decided to do a double major in theatre and biology. After college, I took time off for a year to pursue art and theater because I never had the opportunity to work as an actor/singer! I performed in shows in my community and even got cast in a Broadway show.

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Even though it was great fun {and harder than I ever imagined}, I really felt something was missing in my life. I missed seeing patients and the satisfaction I felt every day helping them somehow.  I felt being a doctor was the best calling for me, which brought me back to medical school.

Since then I have never turned back!

See More: Meet the 2 ICU Nurses That Moved From Colorado to Hoboken to Help COVID-19 Patients

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So far, what has been the highlight of your career?

That’s a hard one. I really feel that every day is rewarding if I get to help people who are sick and suffering.

What has been the hardest day/scariest day on the job?

The hardest and scariest days on the job are right now during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have no idea what to expect every day – how many people will be admitted, how many people will die, will people respond to treatment, will I get sick, etc.

I just try to do the best I can with no expectations – COVID-19 is unpredictable.

Who is someone you look up to/your hero?

My dad. He is awesome. He came from a very small village in India and worked extremely hard to get through school with limited support – emotionally, financially, personally. He wanted to be a doctor and was one of the first in his village to become a doctor and to leave his tiny village for the USA. He came to the USA alone, with no money, not knowing anyone. He was motivated to be the best that he could be despite every barrier in his path. He not only taught me to work hard. He taught me humility and empathy. He has helped so many people around the world selflessly – always putting the needs of others before his own.

What qualities does a person need to do your job?

Empathy, selflessness, and dedication.

What’s something that people wouldn’t expect about what you do on a daily basis?

I always make time for self-care when I can. My outlet is music. My “me time” away from my job, two-year-old son, and family…usually involves listening to ‘90s music {usually old school hip hop}and singing loud while sitting in my car for a few minutes every day! I look forward to this every day to unwind.

Describe a typical day on the job. 

My daily routine in the time of COVID-19 is very different than ever before. Every day I have to pay close attention to what I touch, what I wear, disinfecting, sanitizing, etc. I have to try extremely hard to not get infected with COVID and to not infect my patients or colleagues.

Every single doctor has been called to assist in this pandemic, and our resources related to personnel and PPE is limited. In my own department, 80% of us have had COVID already. I am just counting down the days before I get infected.

I go to work scared every day, not knowing what might happen to me or my patients. I also go to work worried that I might be bringing home an infection, which might affect my family. With family members over the age of 65 who have medical conditions, a husband who is also an essential worker, and a two-year-old old…the thought of getting them sick, terrifies me the most.

Most of my day is spent taking care of COVID patients who are in isolated areas of the hospital. When I see these patients, I need to wear an N95 mask, gown, and gloves. Each time we enter their room, we put ourselves at risk of getting infected. We try to do the best that we can.

Taking care of these patients is complicated beyond dealing with the unknown medical implications of COVID. Some of these patients are in the ICU and on a ventilator; therefore, they can’t speak to us. Since there are no visitors allowed right now in the hospital, I have to call their families to get any medical information or history. Sometimes this is possible, and sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes we have no medical information on our patients and need to treat them with limited information about their past. Some of these patients die alone, and even their bodies may go unclaimed despite all attempts to find their next of kin.

When I am not covering patients in the hospital, I spend the rest of my day teaching medical trainees, attending zoom meetings and phone calls related to COVID-19 and/or medical education, and doing virtual video/telephone visits with my office patients who are concerned over their diabetes and chronic medical problems.

By the end of the day, I am physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted…. only to go home to be a mother to a very energetic toddler.

How do you spend your free time?

What free time? Ha! I am a mother to a very busy two-year-old boy – Dilan. He keeps us very busy…but I wouldn’t have it any other way. But in my spare time – I enjoy music, singing, cooking, exercise and using media for health education.

Are there organizations that you feel strongly about and support?  

During this pandemic — I started my own donation campaign for personal protective equipment {PPE} for frontline workers and essential workers. So far, I have received >6000 masks and donated them to hospitals that need it most. It’s been amazing the outpouring of support from our Hoboken and JC community!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a healthcare worker during this pandemic?

The biggest challenge is how much is unknown about this virus. Since this virus is less than a few months old – there is so much that we are learning every day. Things change every day – like our public health recommendations {ex, to mask versus not to mask}, treatment recommendations, etc.

What are the most common symptoms you’re coming across?

Respiratory symptoms are the most common. But we are learning there are so many different symptoms that people can have – diarrhea, nausea, rashes, lack of smell/taste, etc.

What is one thing you want the public to know about the virus?

It is really hard to stay home, but it’s necessary right now. This virus is highly contagious and is everywhere in our community. People of all ages have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. We have seen young people, some with no medical conditions, die from this virus. We don’t fully understand why they died. It can infect and destroy any of us. We all need to be careful.

Your actions with social distancing have allowed us to flatten the curve with less hospital admissions. Social distancing, in some capacity, will have to be a new norm for all of us until we have a vaccine available.

dr deena adimoolam mount sinai

Read More: Sean Healey, Patient Care Tech at Holy Name Medical Center

Do you know anyone personally affected by the virus?

Yes, I have family members who were affected – both young and old. Some with medical issues, some with none. This virus affects everyone.

How can we help? What can we do?  

Stay at home – this literally will help save lives. We all have a role to play and help others in our community. Please help those in need when you can – offer help to the elderly, homeless, poor, etc. They need us right now more than ever.

About the Instagram Live on 4/22

On Wednesday, April 22nd at 8:30PM, tune into @thehobokengirl  for an Instagram Live session with Dr. Adimoolam where she’ll answer all your FAQs about COVID-19, how to keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible during this challenging time, and so much more. So don’t forget, this Wednesday at 8:30PM — we’ll see you then!

Have a question for Dr. Adimoolam? Email us at [email protected] and we will try to add to the list!

PS: Make sure to go to your windows/balconies nightly to cheer all of our incredible healthcare professionals at 7:00PM each evening.

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