California wildfires: I am simultaneously worried about my own health, the health of my patients, and the safety of my childrenBMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4992 (Published 28 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4992
- Lily Morrison, research data analyst1,
- Chen (Amy) Chen, second year dermatology resident1,
- Natalia Linou, lead, environment and health portfolio2,
- Eleni Linos, associate professor1
- 1University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
- 2United Nations Development Program, New York, NY, USA
I am convinced clinic room three is smokier than clinic room two. Although I have a respirator mask in my bag, I don’t wear it because it feels hypocritical to try to protect myself if I can’t give a mask to the patient sitting in front of me. So I just hold my breath when I go into clinic room three. This is the first time I have ever felt simultaneously worried about my own health, the health of my patients, and the safety of my children—whose school has just closed because the air outside is too dangerous to breathe.
This was the experience of one of the authors (EL), but illustrates what many healthcare professionals across California have been dealing with for the past few weeks.
Wildfires continue to devastate California, leaving over 80 people dead, 1000 missing, and thousands displaced. Millions more are affected by the smoke blowing south east from the worst fire in California’s history, as northern California becomes the most polluted region in the world.
Air pollution …