Alejandro Zuretti, MD
Medical Director of Laboratories at Maimonides Medical Center and SUNY Downstate University Hospital, New York
IER Pathology Specialist, The Joint Commission
New York physician, Dr. Alejandro Zuretti discusses the issues facing hospital labs in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York hospital lab experiences ultimate sacrifice
“We are exhausted. Even though we are doing less outside and after work, it’s been difficult. We try to get more sleep than we normally would, but we’re so exhausted from the work, changing needs and adjusting our processes to deal with this crisis. We are not resting well and life is different here now. Many technologists and other laboratory employees have gotten sick, and we suffered the death of one of our technologists.”
“The main issue and struggle for our labs is the erratic, or broken, supply chain (for reagents, parts, masks, gloves) and getting things on a consistent basis. While we are focused on getting the testing done quickly and accurately, we are also involved in convalescent plasma therapy, multi-centric studies for drugs such as IL-6 blockers as well as evaluation for antibody assays. We are proud of how dedicated the staff has been, and we know how critical lab testing is.”
“Our centers are at the forefront of the pandemic because of the high volume of patients needing care. The University Hospital of Brooklyn has been designated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Covid-19 only facility. What we are experiencing at the hospitals is obviously very hectic and changes by the day. Because of what has happened, we had to turn a 300-bed nursing home into a convalescent Covid-19 center. We are doing things differently on a daily basis, with all the different platforms (Zoom, Skype, Webex) since we no longer discuss issues or solve most problems in person. There are hundreds of emails of issues to be dealt with, as well as — state-wide notifications. We’re constantly trying to adjust.”