ABPS Diplomate William Garrity, MD, Explains What It Is Like Being on the Frontlines of COVID-19

William Garrity, MDWilliam Garrity, MD, a family medicine physician and Diplomate of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), says there is good news to report from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic: Although the United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, we also lead the world in research that can slow the spread of the disease.

Dr. Garrity admits that the road ahead is challenging, but “by studying and interpreting what we know of COVID-19 CoV there should be proportionately more hope than fear.”

One of the greatest fears of people infected with COVID-19 is the fear of dying. He says that’s why it’s important to understand that the coronavirus risk calculation for dying is a dependent variable—not fixed. In some cases, the significant nonfatal consequences of the infection are associated with underlying conditions such as allergies, asthma, and COPD and are not necessarily symptoms of the disease.

“Seeing so many of my patients petrified and suffering but holding onto hope is amazing,” Dr. Garrity says.

For medical care providers, shortages of personal protective equipment continue to be a problem. Dr. Garrity estimates that 90% of medical care workers still can’t get the PPE supplies they need. Fortunately, he says, patients have given him supplies. “Their homemade masks, along with toilet paper, paper towels, wipes, and sanitizers have sustained me,” he said.

Dr. Garrity still works on-site because telemedicine is not completely adequate in many cases, especially when a patient’s survival depends on admission to the hospital. “I have tents I bought at Costco to meet my patients in the parking lot who are symptomatic,” he says.

He requested tents from local and federal sources but received no reply. He asked for a loan and also received no reply. But Dr. Garrity remains undeterred in his efforts to help overcome the pandemic.

“Struggle is not unfamiliar to most doctors like me who are members of the ABPS,” he says. “I take my hat off to my colleagues. Their contributions reflect their high level of training and the stringent standards of the ABPS. These doctors deserve to be called certified physician specialists.”

But his real heroes are his patients—like mothers who, instead of fearing for their health, worry about who will care for their children. This pandemic has revealed, Dr. Garrity says, that practicing family medicine is exactly what it ought to be—caring for families.

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Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine