Q&A with LRG Major Donor & Fundraiser, Dr. Matthew Lurin

Dr. Matthew Lurin

Dr. Lurin is the Associate Director of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, NY, USA.

Are you seeing a lot of patients with COVID-19?

Yes. Our department has treated more than 1,300 cases since March, but fortunately we are now
seeing fewer than just a couple of weeks ago.

How are you dealing with the stress of the pandemic?

Amazingly, I have had little time for stress. Having trained in Emergency Medicine, I go to work planning
on doing the best I can, and having recently moved, I spend my free time working on my new house.
Thanks to online internet cameras and programs I have been able to chat with friends and stay connected.Also, I caught up on a few movies and TV shows as well.

What keeps you motivated?

I have to believe we will get through this. The disease itself is quite devastating, and I am seeing things
I could never have imagined in medicine. Social distancing and isolation may help with the spread of disease, but also makes this even more challenging for everyone. I guess my motivation is to get to the
other side of this pandemic and to see how beautiful life can be, again.

What are some of the most important things that a GIST patient can do during this pandemic for their health and peace of mind?

Practice what everyone has been saying, wash your hands, wear masks, and keep up the social distancing.
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to face both COVID and GIST at the same time, feeling alone.
But remember, though we may be isolated, we are not alone. Call or text or video chat with friends. I have had whisky tastings with people from all over the world, from my backyard. Use technology to help with
your own mental health.

What acts of heroism have you seen on the ‘frontlines’ since this pandemic has begun?

Everyone naturally talks about doctors and nurses and EMTs, and they have been at the forefront during
this fight. However, there are others who work with us, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, our ED techs, registration, radiology and housekeeping who are taking the same risks we are, as we are all in this together. I think anyone showing up and doing their job, at the risk of their own peril is showing an act of heroism, but at the same time we all feel this is simply what we are supposed to do.

What moments have given you hope during this time?

For every discharge or extubation (taking someone off the respirator) our overhead notification in the hospital plays “Here Comes the Sun” or “Just Breathe”, to remind us that folks are getting better. Intellectually, seeing the numbers of cases and following the trends gives me hope that what we are doing
is working, and that we will get through this.

How can the LRG support you during this time?

The best way for anyone to support what we do is to keep faith, and do your best to live your life during this difficult time. As long as groups like the Life Raft Group are able to stay on mission and support those with GIST, it makes us feel we are doing the right thing and helping the world get back to closer to normal.

Anything else you’d like to share?

All the free food sent to work has been amazing, and the clapping has felt nice too. I hope the kindness towards our fellow man continues long after we get past this. I look forward to raising a few glasses with friends once this is a memory. Slàinte Mhath*

*Good health to you!