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Madeline Acquilano

St. Vincent’s Medical Center

Madeline Acquilano

I will never forget the day we had our first positive patient, not only because it was my first COVID-19 face-to-face experience, but also because this patient was younger than even I was (I'm 25). I assisted from the hallway in this patient's intubation and the unit has felt different ever since that moment. Finally, COVID-19 was real to us, it was real and it was terrifying … looking at a patient younger than yourself in the prone position due to ARDS is a hard image to get out of your head. After that day I took the care of all COVID-19 patients very personally.

I was the first pharmacist to start monitoring these patients on a daily basis and I wasn't ready to stop when my Critical Care II rotation came to an end. I was scheduled for the community rotation, but it didn’t sit right in my heart or gut knowing that patients and my co-workers were in need elsewhere. I quickly switched to ED II with the permission of my program director and remained on the front line with those who I looked up to the most. I continued to work on policy change, setting up new COVID-19 zones and I continued to monitor the patients daily even when the list was more than 12 pages.

The response I’ve gotten from my preceptors has meant so much to me and I am incredibly honored to be viewed as a dedicated and integral part of our efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic at my hospital. For me this has been a learning experience I will never forget for the rest of my career. As for our first COVID-19 patient, they walked out of the hospital smiling and alive. I am prouder than ever to be a clinical pharmacist and I thank everyone across the country for the incredible work they are doing.

Madeline Acquilano, PharmD, is a PGY-1 pharmacy resident at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.