Scripps Physician Responds to COVID-19 Ground Zero

Scripps Physician Responds to COVID-19 Ground Zero

Matthew Martin (third from the left), MD, a Scripps trauma surgeon stands with a COVID-19 medical team in a Bronx hospital.

Scripps trauma surgeon Matthew Martin (third from the left), MD, stands with Sheldon Teperman (far left), MD, and medical team in a Bronx hospital. 

Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego trauma surgeon Matthew Martin, MD, returned from a two-week stint helping fight the coronavirus pandemic in hard-hit New York City. 

Dr. Martin, a former Army doctor who has completed five deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, was invited to help out at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx by Sheldon Teperman, MD, his long-time friend and trauma medical director at the hospital. 

“One of the things he said was, 'We are drowning, and no one is coming to help us,' and that's when I said, 'Well, I think I can come and help,'" Dr. Martin said. He decided to volunteer his time and skills on the front lines of America's coronavirus epicenter.

When he arrived to the Bronx, he could tell the healthcare system was overwhelmed.  

Dr. Teperman hailed Dr. Martin as a hero, and Dr. Martin said the experience was reminiscent of his war zone deployments as an Army surgeon earlier in his career. Every day, he said he saw at least fifty patients in the ICU. Many of them were his fellow healthcare workers suffering from the disease. 

With no cure yet, Dr. Martin said the best treatment still is prevention. "Keep doing what we are doing with social distancing, wearing masks, and we do not want to be New York City," Dr. Martin said.

After arriving in San Diego, Dr. Martin self-quarantined at a hotel for five days before returning home. He is now back working at the ICU at Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego.