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What's It Like Treating NYC COVID-19 Patients? Fresno Doctor Explains.



Composite of Fresno doctor Michael Chiang who is going to New York to help out with coronavirus patients
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“As nice as Fresno has treated me, New York has always been my home,” says UCSF-Fresno Dr. William Chiang.
Chiang spoke to GV Wire after a shift helping treat COVID-19 patients Monday night in New York.
We caught up with him via Zoom a couple of hours before his next overnight shift. He flew into New York on Sunday with a pretty good idea of what he was getting into.

Q&A With William Chiang, M.D.

GV Wire: What led you to make the decision to leave Fresno, and head back to New York?

I’ve been there for 29 years of my life. I grew up in Queens.
So, I felt like I needed to be a part of this. I felt like I needed to, I could not really stand watching my junior residents taking care of patients and being sick, without me being a part of it.

How does treating patients in Fresno compare to what you are experiencing now?

People in Fresno have been very good about staying at home. Following advice and then using remote ways of seeking medical care.
Whereas, here in New York City, resignation may not be the right word, but …. (the thought is) that basically everyone around them has COVID.

You probably had a vision of what you thought it was going be like when you got there. Did it match up with reality?

I’d say that the reports and videos that I’ve seen are a reflection of the reality at the time that they were there. It has kind of leveled off … and there’s a certain amount of infrastructural control that has gone into the management of these patients.
Basically the entire area of the emergency department you kind of expected to be contaminated with COVID or something like that, and you would have to wear full-on protective equipment.

How long do you expect to be in New York?

I’ll be here for about four weeks. I had originally planned on being abroad to do a research project, and that got canceled. So I figured this was the best use of my time.

What’s been your most memorable moment so far?

Overall, I think people have started to really appreciate the medical community.
Patients no matter what their kind of status and how severe there disease is, are more understanding as to the struggles that we have (caring) for this number of patients.

Have you heard the nightly clapping New Yorkers do for healthcare workers from the skyrises?

I was able to hear it. while just moving into my hotel, a couple days ago. It is really heart warming.

At the end of your time in New York, will you come back to Fresno?

Fresno’s in good hands in terms of COVID. But when I come back, I expect to kind of still be able to take care of patients. I expect to be quarantined for about two weeks or so.

Anything you’d like to say to people back here?

I just appreciate all your support. I hope you guys all stay safe.