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CBS2/KCAL9: Doctor Contracts COVID-19 While Treating Scores of Infected Patients

CBS2/KCAL9 recently featured Cedars-Sinai pulmonary critical care specialist Oren Friedman, MD, in its "STEAM Series," a feature that highlights local people who are making a difference using science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

In mid-March, after working for one week in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai, Friedman began experiencing early symptoms of a novel coronavirus infection. He quickly isolated himself and later tested positive for the illness.

While in quarantine, Friedman kept in touch with his former colleagues at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which was then the epicenter of the pandemic. The hospital, where he had trained and worked prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, and Friedman wanted to help. As soon as he recovered, Friedman volunteered to treat patients at NewYork-Presbyterian.

“The New York experience was like taking years of understanding the disease and packing it into a month of time,” Friedman told CBS2/KCAL9. “Where you learn so much about the patterns because you simply have the volume to be able to illustrate even the rarer patterns.”

Friedman told CBS2/KCAL9 that he relied most heavily on science and mathematics of the STEAM disciplines while treating patients with COVID-19. He added that any students who might be struggling with these subjects are not alone.

“Science and math is hard,” said Friedman. “Many of us as physicians struggled with our math classes in high school, and chemistry classes in college. But there is so much more that goes into being a good doctor.”

Friedman stressed the importance of making a personal connection.

“I’ve at times let my patient’s families know I too have had COVID-19,” Friedman told CBS2/KCAL9. “I tell them I will do my best and will try everything to see if I can get their loved one to pull through.”

Click here to watch the complete story from CBS2/KCAL9.