In-Depth: San Diego frontline hospital doctors describe the COVID surge in their own words

Hope and despair as vaccine arrives while surge
Posted at 6:02 AM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 13:32:34-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Doctors across San Diego shared mixed emotions of despair and hope this week, as San Diego's COVID-19 cases surge while front line workers get the first doses of a vaccine.

"This is actually a really difficult time right now," says Dr. Holly Yang, the President of the San Diego County Medical Society. "Our hospitals are getting quite full and staff is getting really stretched."

"It's tiring," says Dr. William Tseng, an Internist at Kaiser Permanente Hospitals. "But, as health professionals, we're here to take care of patients."

They say this week has been particularly hard, as an influx of people who contracted the virus during the Thanksgiving holiday threatens to overwhelm the system.

"It gets tough," says Dr. Karrar Ali, an Emergency Room Physician at Sharp Chula Vista. "Now we're starting to make decisions based upon capacity... That's tough, when your resources start dwindling to the point where it's not just beds, but we're having staffing issues as well."

Dr. Yang says, even as bad as things look right now, with the Southern California all but out of ICU beds, doctors in the SDCMS take hope from the vaccine.

"There's a light at the end of the tunnel," she says. "But that tunnel is long and dark. We're going to get there, but the challenge of getting us to there through this very difficult time is going to be a hard one."