Written By: LaMont Smith, BSP ’87, MD, School of Pharmacy Alumnus
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series of Helping Hands stories authored by School of Pharmacy faculty, staff, students, trainees, and alumni who stepped up to assist their family and friends, colleagues, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I practiced medicine for 25 years, retiring from the University of Florida in 2018. I am also a 1987 alumnus of the School of Pharmacy. I practiced clinical pharmacy at Johns Hopkins Bayview for four years full time after pharmacy school before returning to medical school. I stayed at Bayview part time for another six years, remaining a licensed pharmacist until 2019.
My medical career took me from an assistant professor for eight years at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland to other institutions, including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Florida.
Throughout all of those years, I proudly maintained my pharmacy license and made sure that everyone knew of my background and affiliation with the UM School of Pharmacy.
Since my retirement, I’ve been helping out occasionally at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in southwest Georgia. They recently asked me to return, at least temporarily, to help take care of COVID-19 patients.
In this new role, I have taken care of more than 100 patients as this pandemic has overwhelmed Phoebe Putney and southwest Georgia.
My first night there was really, really busy with seven intubations. I work 13-hour days, with my biggest challenge getting critically ill patients well. Sometimes hard work isn’t enough. It’s very demoralizing to have patients so sick and to know that despite our best efforts, many will die.
I would like the public to know how important it is to protect yourself and to practice social distancing. I’ve seen the direct effects COVID-19 has on patients.