Heroes of the Pandemic – Vonetta Drakes

The Lyfe Magazine recognizes the struggle many of us are facing during this time. We Would like to take a moment each week to recognize someone who is working and helping others during this stressful period.

Each week we want to honor someone, to let everyone know there are genuine heroes in the world!

This week we honor Vonetta Drakes DO/MBA!

What’s your occupation?

Emergency Medicine Physician

I’ve been a trained physician for 11 years. Completed my residency in Emergency Medicine 2009.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Biggest challenge was finishing residency. Learning to apply my learned skills to live human beings. Also microaggressions. As a black female physician, we only represent 2% of doctors. So, I see how patients treat nurses poorly, until I tell them I’m the physician. Or expecting to empty a bed pan or get a urinal when I was putting in orders for a small infant patient. I was yelled at and harassed because the patient’s son thought I was a nurse. And I told him, I would let the nurse know. In the meantime, just give me a few minutes. And had to later apologize, so the patient would go to the state. There’s a lot of experiences I have that are different than my white male counterparts. I will be at the desk and the student will ask where is the attending physician, not even considering that it could be. 

Do you foresee anything good coming from all of this?

Covid-19, had really been an eyeopener for the masses. I believe patients are now appreciating people in healthcare, teachers, service industry. They understand how hard we work now. Also it’s shining a light on the disparities in medicine and healthcare. Also it has shown people the importance of cleanliness. Washing your hands. 

Do you think life will go back to normal or have things changed forever?

No, I don’t think we will go back to normal. It was never normal before. We already had a broken system, hopefully some changes will be made. Medicine has increased Telehealth service and urgent care services. It’s help not flood the emergnency department with non emergencies. 

Do you think the lock down is working, why or why not?

Lock down is working. It allows the hospital system to have enough equipment, beds in the icu, staffing, for us to deal with the virus. It doesn’t mean people aren’t going to die. It just means a lot less people are. People are still going to die. Especially in the hot spot areas. It’s helps to keep the numbers down. It would have definitely been a lot worse without it.  But the economy will suffer. 

What advice would you give people during this time?

Learn a new skill, invest in yourself, your family, and your health. Renew your time with God or who ever you pray to.