As many sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, Georgia doctors worked to save lives

ATLANTA — As many families sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday night, doctors and nurses across metro Atlanta worked to save lives.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson talked to one doctor who said the pandemic is especially stressful now as COVID-19 cases rise.

In April, people across metro Atlanta and the country cheered nearly every night for front line health care workers. Seven months later, pandemic fatigue has set in for a lot of us.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Coronavirus Pandemic in Georgia]

Many doctors say they are reaching their breaking points while working through the holidays.

“It’s certainly something that we need to pay attention to, the mental health of all of our health care workers, as we’ve gone through this crisis at this point,” Dr. Dhaval Desai with Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital said.

Desai said the hardest part has been keeping patients safe while keeping his family safe.

“I have a wife who’s also a physician, and also have a five-year-old and a soon-to-be a nine-month-old at home,” Desai said. “So maintaining their safety has been really important for me as well.”

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Shari Perry-Smith is an ER nurse in Atlanta who said she got COVID-19 on the job and recovered after two months of symptoms. She’ll be working this Thanksgiving weekend.

“I see so many people, and they’re so afraid that you know, that they’re gonna die,” Perry-Smith said. “And, you know, I have to tell them that, ‘No, you’re, you’re not gonna die. You’re gonna make it. You can make it and I’m not gonna let you die.’”

As health care workers urge everyone to be safe on Thanksgiving, they said they’ll need as much support as ever.

“If you know any health care workers, check in on them and make sure you know that they’re doing okay, and you’re here to support them,” Desai said.

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