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Pregnant ER Doctor Treating Coronavirus Patients Urges People to Make a Care Plan

Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne, an ER physician at the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center, says anyone, even young people, can make an advance care plan

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A Maryland emergency room doctor who is treating coronavirus patients while seven months pregnant is urging people to make a plan in case they become critically ill.

Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne is an ER physician at the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center, and offered her first-hand account of treating coronavirus patients.

"We’re very busy. We definitely in the last week have seen an increased number of acutely ill patients, people coming in, respiratory distress," Clayborne said.

"Right now, we're really bracing ourselves for the storm that we think is coming upon us. We're currently seeing an increased number of COVID positive patients," she said.

Clayborne is treating coronavirus patients amid a staff shortage and says she will continue to work for as long as she can.

"It’s definitely scary being a pregnant mother. I also have a young daughter, a 17-month-old, at home. So every time I come home I am taking a risk," she said.

Clayborne said she wanted to share her perspective as a doctor on the front lines to urge people to make a plan for how they want to be treated if they become critically ill.

"I really wanted to bring some awareness to some important topics that haven’t been as well covered in the media, that are really being highlighted by this crisis, and that is advanced care planning and for people to start thinking about, what they would want done if they become acutely ill," she said.

She says anyone, even young people, can make an advance care plan.

"Make sure it is clear and specific, you don't want your family to be burdened trying to make decisions for you in a crisis," Clayborne said.

To make a plan, go to cdc.gov to search online resources for advance care plans that are state-specific or go to MyDirectives.com.

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