Interview with Dr. Dawn Bork from Buffalo General Hospital regarding COVID-19

Sam Smith, Staff reporter

With all of the craziness going on around the world due to COVID-19, it is important to keep up with the facts and figure out how to stay safe. To learn more about everything surrounding the virus, and how it is particularly affecting our area, I interviewed Dr. Dawn Bork from the Buffalo General Hospital to figure out how COVID-19 is affecting her work in particular.

How long have you been working at Buffalo General Hospital?

DB: I’ve been working at Buffalo General for eight years as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and hematologist. Before that, I was at Millard Fillmore Suburban for twenty-one years.

What is your job and specialization?

DB: I am a hematologist, which basically means I treat patients with different blood disorders and diseases. I am the head of the laboratory studies at the hospital.

Has the state given you any specific instruction on how to deal with COVID-19 or issued changes that need to be made at the hospital?

DB: In my lab, we receive blood and body fluid samples that potentially could have COVID-19. We have to treat every sample as potentially infectious. The samples that we process for COVID-19 are prioritized in different ways. Healthcare workers, critical care patients, and then inpatients are tested first. Our patients and non-critical are then processed. 

How does the hospital plan on increasing space for patients with COVID-19?

DB: Buffalo General and all of the Kaleida Health System are not doing any elective surgeries at this time. We are keeping all those beds available for COVID-19 positive patients and for those that have been tested and are awaiting results. Kaleida Health is ready to reopen DeGraff Hospital as a place for COVID-19 patients as well.

What safety precautions have you personally taken to prevent yourself from contracting the virus?

DB: As an employee of Buffalo General, I have to have my temperature taken every day that I enter the building for work. I also have to wear a mask from the time I enter the hospital until the time I leave after my shift. I also wear a face shield along with my mask when I am opening a sample in the lab that could splash or create an aerosol. I am washing my hands like crazy and wash and change my clothes as soon as I come home from work. I am staying away from my mom who is over seventy years old. I don’t want to put her in jeopardy and risk giving her the virus. 

Have any patients with COVID-19 come into Buffalo General Hospital?

DB: Yes. Buffalo General has positive COVID-19 patients at this time. Certain floors are for positive patients. Another floor is for patients that have been tested and are waiting to be ruled out negative. If negative, they can go home. If they test positive, they are moved to the floor for COVID-19 patients.

Are your hours of work being affected?

DB: My hours as of right now are the same as before, although it seems much shorter from working hard nonstop in the lab all day at work.

Are you afraid of getting COVID-19?

DB: Yes, in a way I am more subject to contracting the virus than those staying at home, but I am taking all of the precautions I can to prevent it from happening. As a mom, I do fear getting the virus and passing it to my family, but I’m doing everything I can to stay safe and healthy at work.

Would you say you’re under a lot of pressure because of the current situation with the virus in New York?

DB: COVID-19 is definitely putting a ton of pressure on me at work. I’m trying to be so careful with every sample that I touch. I am using my best techniques and changing my gloves, mask, shield, and washing my hands nonstop. I am trying to be so careful and taking my vitamins so that I don’t bring anything home to my family.

Overall, how do you think the hospital is handling the situation?

DB: I think at this point everyone is just doing the best they can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone is working carefully and hard to treat the patients. The hospital in general is following all of the orders from the state, and working constantly to put a stop to the spread. We have people working day and night nonstop to help out. I think we’re handling it well.

After the interview with Dr. Dawn Bork, it is clear that COVID-19 is greatly affecting her work, along with every other doctor involved with diagnosing and treating the virus. It is very important to stay home and stay safe to protect yourself from getting the virus.