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Baton Rouge doctor beats coronavirus; is back working in COVID ICU
BATON ROUGE - Healthcare workers are among the most at risk of catching the coronavirus because of their close contact with infected patients.
Many are going through the processes of fighting off the virus while in quarantine before heading right back work to help patients fight the virus themselves.
Doctor Tonya Jagneaux has been working at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center for over a decade and she is now telling her story with COVID-19. It started in mid-March.
"I went to our ICU to take on a critical care service. I started feeling like I had symptoms and I needed to be tested and unfortunately, it was positive," Jagneaux said.
She was sent home to self-quarantine and recover where she began to develop a personal understanding of the virus.
"That obviously takes it to a level where it brings it home," Jagneaux said.
The Church Point, La. native shoulders multiple responsibilities daily. Jagneaux serves as a physician, a pulmonary critical care specialist, the director of quality and safety, and is the chief medical and informatics officer at OLOL.
She says that being away from the hospital for over two weeks took a huge mental toll on her, coupled with the virus's effect on her body. As an intensive care specialist, Jagneaux says that her ordeal gave her a new respect for the virus.
"I did feel guilty, I felt like I was given a bit of a break when everyone was essentially just going into the fire," Jagneaux said. "Definitely good to be on the other end of it but I still think we should be mindful and respectful of how much damage it can do to individuals who have medical problems. But also, I'm still recovering. And I'm over thirty days out, still some of the symptoms that are lingering behind."
Now having recovered from COVID, Jagneaux is back in the ICU, helping virus patients recover. And that's exactly where she wants to be, she says, assisting others to reach a state of peace and health.
"I've been infected. I've been sick. I'm recovered. And while I think we're all very passionate when we're dealing with our patients, I feel like there's a bit of a connection that I have that folks who haven't been through this, they don't have," Jagneaux said.
Jagneaux says she wants to warn people that as we start to see relaxed restrictions around social distancing and other orders, we should not fully let our guard down any time soon.
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