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A Night on the Frontlines During a Pandemic

“You have to stand six feet away.” It was the first time I had ever said that to a patient, and I didn’t enjoy it. My partner for the shift, Talia, and I were standing in a parking lot beside the ambulance. We had responded to this patient’s 911 call in order to provide him with care. Telling him to stand back seemed contrary to that mission, but distance was part of our new working conditions. “The thermometer goes under your tongue—” “—Make sure it’s all the way in the back of your mouth—” “—Tell him to put it under his tongue.” English was not a language the patient spoke, so his teenage son was translating. The adolescent was thin...

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