On his way to receiving his master’s in public health, Curtis J. Frederick got accepted into Howard University College of Medicine in 2014. He postponed his masters and received his Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D) in 2018. From there he began his career as a general surgery resident (doctor) at Howard Hospital.
Born in Far Rockaway Queens, New York, Frederick dreamed of being a doctor since he was 16 years old. He had an interest in science, and knowing that science combined with helping people was part of being a physician he fell in love with the profession.
He is currently treating and operating on patients in the ICU at Howard Hospital. People are dying daily at alarming rates during this pandemic. Frederick describes the coronavirus as a deadly disease. He has seen the virus affect older patients in their 50s and 60s and the young in their 20s and 30s. He has seen the virus affect people with preexisting lung conditions, diabetes, and hypertension.
“Each day where I would come in, I would see that we lost a patient from the night before, that was pretty difficult as well to deal with. You hear about and you see it on the news, the number of people that are dying, but when you see it firsthand it’s a bigger impact,” he says.
Frederick thinks if every hospital had access to tests, patients could have gotten tested more quickly and there could have been a quicker turnaround for test results. “I think as a nation our biggest issue is our level of preparation with it. I think if we were better prepared this wouldn’t hit as hard. Being on the frontline we are doing a good job of containing the virus to the best of our abilities,” he explains.
Once the stay at home order is over, Frederick worries the spreading of the virus could get worse because there will be large amounts of people interacting with each other and there might be another increase in the number of patients arriving at hospitals. “Once there is a removal of the social distancing restrictions that are in place right now, I think people should still be very cautious in terms of being around large amounts of people,” Frederick says.
Frederick advises the public to continue to protect themselves when departing their homes. He advises people to wear masks, wash hands consistently, and be aware of placing unclean hands on your eyes, nose, or mouth. “It is my hope that the disease moving forward will decrease,” he says.
A motto the surgical department at Howard Hospital lives by is “Equanimity Under Duress,” said Dr. LaSalle Leffall, who was a surgeon and educator in the surgical field. When things are going downhill, you must be patient, remain confident that you can navigate any issues that arise, and with that calmness, preparedness, and team effort you are able to navigate and come to a solution. A quote that we can apply to our lives as we battle this virus.