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Caring for their own

Brooklyn, New York, was particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The New York State Governor quickly mandated that SUNY Downstate Medical Center become a designated coronavirus referral center, one of only three in the tristate area. All the residents, attending physicians, and nurses contributed significantly to battling COVID-19. Some residents were deployed to inpatient medicine and the emergency department, while others staffed essential consultation service or worked in collaboration with the Department of Health. Still others staffed in-person clinics for urgent patient visits in order to take the burden off emergency medicine colleagues for skin-related matters. Everyone contributed, including two resident directors of cosmetic dermatology from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Jameson Loyal, MD, and Derek Ho, MD.

“Well into the pandemic my colleagues and I started seeing numerous health care providers

Resident dermatologists and resident directors of cosmetic dermatology, Jameson Loyal, MD (left), and Derek Ho, MD (right), hand out care packages to nurses and doctors working on the inpatient COVID units at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
presenting with PPE-related skin injuries,” said Dr. Loyal. “We knew we had to do something to combat this universal problem. My colleague, Dr. Ho, and I started reaching out to skincare companies to help procure gentle skincare products that would help to alleviate the abrasions, dents, and dermatitis that hours upon hours of PPE use left behind. In a matter of a few weeks, Dr. Ho and I had the sponsorship of over 15 major skincare brands and were able to deliver close to 400 care packages to every single floor of Kings County and SUNY Downstate hospitals.” Dr. Loyal said that although their primary intent was to help heal the skin of front-line health care professionals, the little tokens of gratitude also did much in the way of spreading little joy during this challenging time.

“Looking back on this experience, the three words that come to mind are courage, generosity, and gratitude,” Dr. Loyal said. “My colleagues stepped up without question to help in any way possible to fight this pathogen and care for the sick and vulnerable. Further, the numerous skincare companies donated hundreds of products with an abundance of enthusiasm. Finally, the communities my colleagues and I serve thanked us profusely for doing the job we were trained to do.”

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