During a pandemic, the people who are at the highest risk of being infected are health care workers – the people in the front lines treating sick patients in hospitals.
Ending their shifts and coming home to be with their families used to be a reward, but during these unsettling times, it has become a nightmare. These medical professionals can’t know for sure if they might be a carrier or not, and they’re afraid of spreading the coronavirus to their families.
To protect their loved ones, many health care workers are taking extra precautions at home. Some of them sleep on their patios, garages, or at any other place away from their families.
For emergency room physician Mark Quale, he would strip off his scrubs on the front porch, walk towards a specific route to the bathroom, and wash off all the germs in the shower. He has two young boys, a wife, and an elderly mother-in-law at home, and he knows that if he’s not careful, he could infect them with the virus.
But now, this doctor in Burlington, North Carolina, is more at peace because he is able to isolate himself comfortably. Thanks to a Facebook group named RVs 4 MDs, Mark can keep his family safe by staying in a 31-foot travel trailer lent to him by kind strangers.
RVs for MDs matches health care workers to local RV owners who are willing to lend their trailers to medical professionals. It all started when Emily Phillips, wife of ER doctor Jason Phillips, posted on her Facebook asking if anybody had an RV they could borrow where her husband could self-isolate.
Thankfully, someone responded to her plea. Holly Haggard told her they could borrow hers.
“Before the RV, I was a nervous wreck. Every time my husband walked in the door or put his hand on something, I thought we were going to get (Covid-19), including my baby,” Emily told CNN. “But now that he’s in that RV, I’m back to my life, focused on my full-time job and my kids, and it’s completely changed our situation.”
Knowing that countless families had the same dilemma, Emily and Holly started RVs for MDs. Now, the group has become a volunteer organization complete with a board of directors and a network of volunteers across the country.
Kelsey and Tim Webb were the kind strangers who lent Mark their RV. Even though the two families had never met before, Tim drove 2.5 hours and gave the keys to the doctor’s wife, LaRayne Quale. He said that they could use the trailer for as long as they needed.
LaRayne said that to receive such kindness from strangers is an “emotional thing to go through.” She asked the Webbs if they wanted them to cover the insurance, and the couple responded that they wanted nothing.
“They said that they are praying for us and rooting for us,” she said.
Every hour, there are new posts on the Facebook page from family members looking to match with trailer owners. With that being said, RVs 4 MDs needs more volunteers to head up the different states. Emily, Holly, and the rest of the team hope to expand the project into Canada and set up an official website. Even after the coronavirus crisis is over, they plan to keep it going. They believe that “there’s always going to be a need for shelter.”
Aside from having health care workers braving the front lines during this pandemic, they need to know that they can rely on their community to take care of the non-medical portion of this fight so they can focus more on healing their patients.
Now, more than ever, our health care workers need our help and cooperation. You may join RVs for MDs if you have a trailer you can lend to the doctors and nurses in your area.