Romano Law Nurse Corner #30
Even the President Can Get COVID-19
Last Thursday, we heard that Hope Hicks, a close aide to President Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19. She was the first one we heard about. Within a short amount of time, the news came out that both the President and the First Lady had COVID-19. While this news sent shock waves around the world, to us at RLNC, it really was not that surprising, almost expected. It has been disheartening to see the lack of basic COVID-19 proven protective measures by our leaders, during recent high profile events, including the presidential debate and the Rose Garden announcement of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. These are only two of many events where we saw no safety measures in place…no social distancing and no mask wearing. These events are all over the news and somewhat frightening to see.
During the Presidential debate, early in the week, the President had even gone so far as to mock Joe Biden and his mask wearing. Politics aside, as nurses, this mocking of what the entire medical and scientific community (along with us at RLNC) has been telling people they need to do in order to protect themselves and other human beings from this deadly virus, was offensive. Social distancing and masks do work. Whether you believe it or not, the science shows itself eventually. Donald Trump and many others, now have proof of that.
Also not surprisingly, since those initial announcements late last week, we have heard of others involved in those events, testing positive. Currently, those confirmed as having active COVID-19 include: Kellyanne Conway, former special assistant to the President; Bill Stepien, the President’s campaign manager; Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee; Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), along with former Governor of N.J., Chris Christie. There are several White House Reporters and White House Staffers infected. Today, Kayleigh McEnany, the president’s press secretary, has also reported positive for COVID-19.
The Rose Garden ceremony included both the President and his wife, Christie, Lee, Tillis, and Conway. It also included Notre Dame President Reverend John Jenkins, who also has tested positive. Governor Christie and Hicks met with the president privately to prepare for debate and there was no social distancing or masks used. Other reports say that at least 11 individuals with the City of Cleveland who were involved with the debate have also tested positive. Given the long incubation of the COVID-19 virus, more people linked to these events will show up with COVID-19. This list is growing as of the writing of this blog.
How is the President Doing?
Historically, the health of the United States President is something that the American public has a right to know, especially at the present time, less than a month to a Presidential Election. Currently, no clarity exists, only conflict and chaos in reports regarding the President. There are varied reports regarding his true physical condition, including that he needed oxygen several times. We do know that The President has been an inpatient at Walter Reed National Military Center since Friday, and despite several medical briefings, his true condition is not clear.
The President has also done several video messages on social media, indicating he is doing well. There have been several briefings with his medical doctors, where no real information is shared and more questions are raised then are answered. There is speculation that he will go home to the White House as early as Monday.
Bordering on offensive, the President took a joyride on Sunday to wave at his supporters. At that time, as an isolated COVID-19 patient, this seems quite irresponsible, as many news outlets have reported. For nurses like us, this was hard to see. This action put many people at unnecessary risk. That risk could mean life and death. We cannot help but wonder if the wave was worth it.
President Trump’s current confirmed medical treatment includes an experimental monoclonal antibody cocktail that has had some promising preliminary data for reducing viral load, according to Regeneron, the maker of the cocktail. The cocktail is a combination of two antibodies that bind to an area that is on the main surface of the spike protein that helps the virus attach to a receptor on human cells. With use of this medicine, the virus would then be blocked from attaching to and infecting the human cells. The two antibodies are from 1) a human who had recovered from COVID-19 infection and 2) a mouse whose immune system was engineered to be human-like and had the spike protein injected into it. Several other companies are also working on monoclonal antibody studies.
President Trump is also receiving Remdesivir and dexamethasone, both of which have been discussed in prior RLNC blogs. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug by Gilead Sciences, which takes over a viral enzyme that COVID-19 uses to replicate, thus making it unable to do so. During this pandemic so far, Remdesivir has not been the cure all we all want, however it has shown some benefit when used with hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
On Sunday, the president’s doctors added dexamethasone to his treatment regimen purportedly as a result of several oxygen level drops during the weekend. Dexamethasone, which has been used with some success on the sickest COVID-19 patients, particularly those on ventilators, decreases the body’s immune response, ultimately decreasing the damage caused by the disease process. Once again, reserved for the sickest patients, President Trump is receiving dexamethasone.
President Trump has access to the best medical care and all possible available treatments. This has not been, nor continues to be the case for our fellow citizens.
Sunday Evening Jaunt
In a surprise on Sunday evening, President Trump left his isolated hospital room for a ride where he waved through the car window to his supporters who had gathered outside the hospital. This was his first public appearance aside from Twitter, since he entered Walter Reed Medical Center. This drive has caused many critics to discuss the obvious risks posed to the health of the Secret Service agents accompanying the President. As nurses, the thought of an actively infectious patient exiting the hospital, mask or not, is just not acceptable behavior for a highly contagious person.
Going Home Soon?
The latest news on Sunday night and Monday morning indicated that President Trump is responding well to his treatments and could possibly leave the hospital on Monday. This may or may not have happened by the time this blog is published. We can all hope that President Trump chooses to use this illness and its effect on his health to further educate the public. We hope he uses continued isolation time at the White House not only fighting the virus, but also sending out messages encouraging Americans to continue to practice proven safety measures for their health and safety as well as the general health of all of our American citizens.
We are in this together. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.
We are Susan Ramsey and Amie Goldberg, both practicing attorneys and nurses here at the Romano Law Group. Here is a little more about each of us:
Susan Ramsey is both an attorney and an RN. Ms. Ramsey’s professional experience began as a Registered Nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree, she was a counselor with the New Haven Rape Crisis Program. During her time with the Program, Ms. Ramsey counseled sexual assault survivors and performed seminars for local police departments, universities, and high schools. During her time working as a registered nurse, Ms. Ramsey decided to attend law school. Ms. Ramsey graduated from CUNY Law School, and has practiced law in several different State and Federal Courts. She is a Florida Heath Care Risk Manager and a member of the Palm Beach County Sober Home Task Force. Ms. Ramsey actively litigates cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death on behalf of survivors, cases include injuries suffered by victims of professional negligence, product liability and medical negligence.
Amie Goldberg is both an attorney and a certified APRN. After completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Whittier College, Ms. Goldberg attended nursing school at Emory University. Ms. Goldberg’s professional experience started as a Registered Nurse at Egleston Children’s Hospital taking care of children with congenital heart disease. After a few years, she continued working in all areas of the hospital while attending Kennesaw State University on weekends in order to get her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialty of Primary Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner. During her time as an APRN, Ms. Goldberg decided to attend law school at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. Since graduating, she has mainly practiced in the areas of personal injury and worker’s compensation, fighting for the rights of injured people. Since joining the Romano Law Group, Ms. Goldberg has been the Director of the Opioid Litigation Project. Ms. Goldberg also practices in the area of medical malpractice and nursing home negligence, bringing an inside perspective and knowledge to help get justice for our clients.