Caption: North Shore’s Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) is helping residents who show up with suspected COVID-19 or have the virus.
When the call went out for more doctors to join the fight against COVID-19 in B.C., two North Vancouver physicians were among the many ready to step up.
Soudabeh Varasteh-Badri started her career as a physician in family practice and was already on the way to transitioning to a hospitalist prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when the virus accelerated her plans.
“I wanted to be there for my community when they need me the most," she said. “To me, being a doctor isn't a job, it's a responsibility."
Since early March, Varasteh-Badri has been mostly working out of the North Shore's Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) helping residents who show up with suspected COVID-19 or have the virus.
Her role is to provide as much information and comfort to the patients who often come in scared and filled with questions. For Varasteh-Badri, providing comfort is the most rewarding part of the job.
“When people need you the most, you're there," she said.
Varasteh-Badri is just one of hundreds of health professionals across VCH and the province who have shifted gears or come out of retirement to help the healthcare system.
Shehla Ebrahim is in a similar situation. She's getting ready to go into the hospital setting after three decades as a family physician and business owner. She started her own practice, but in 2005 took a leap of faith to become an entrepreneur, opening Afterglow Skin Care in North Vancouver, focusing on cosmetic dermatology.
But after 15 years of operating the successful business, Ebrahim was looking for a new calling. When COVID-19 began to take hold, she wanted to help.
“Yes, while I loved to do aesthetic medicine… perhaps there is a calling to do something great and what could be better than looking after patients in the hospital setting," she said.
In recent weeks, Ebrahim has been working through online training to get up to speed and ready for the hospital setting.
She not sure exactly what role she'll have, but she's excited and a little nervous for what awaits in the coming weeks.
“I've been out of [the hospital setting] for a while but I'm willing to take the plunge and be open to everything that comes," Ebrahim said.