Spotlight on Extraordinary Women - Meet Dr Bahar Mojgani, Emergency Medicine Physician
Meet Dr Bahar Mojgani, an Emergency Medicine Physician and Co-Chair of Disaster Management in San Jose , California. When news of Covid-19 spread from China in December 2019, Bahar and her team began to organize themselves, anticipating the worst to come. She and her team spent countless hours preparing providers for the unknown contagion of this disease.By early March of 2020, her and her team’s pandemic concerns had turned from fear to reality as the very first cluster of Covid patients arrived at their facility. She still remembers this moment distinctly as the pivotal starting point of the pandemic for their group. For example, Dr. Mojgani felt unsure about her ability to keep her family safe and separate them from the risks of her profession. With bags packed by her husband, she accounts the tearful phone call she had to her 9 and 7 year olds letting them know that she had to move out for “a while” during a time when most families were huddling together. She recalls reviewing her will and trust with her husband and how they were distinctly concerned about the risk of losing one or both of their lives to this unknown disease and what that meant to their children’s future.
Unfortunately, “a while” meant two whole months in a dark, cold basement room isolating from all family. She filled her time as best she could by working every single day in some capacity, pulling together protocols to train physicians on ventilator setup, reviewing new workflows on caring for Covid19 patients, and working on supply chain limitations for PPE.
'We were all operating in an emergency mode at the hospital and navigating so many unknowns. There was always a lot of optimism, teamwork & resiliency despite everything we saw in the devastating months to come. As a medical provider it's your lifelong mission to serve—it’s the core of who we are. We had been planning for these worst case scenarios, like the pandemic, for our whole careers. Seeing colleagues become extremely sick and not knowing if they would be able to ever return to work was hard. We went in everyday like going into battle. We always had a feeling we would get through this, changed forever.”
In time, understanding of the virus and its boundaries became clearer. Frontline workers learned to safely work with COVID patients and realized that some of their worst fears were not realized. Dr. Mojgani eventually returned to her family, because of this new understanding of the virus, and the strain of been away from her family for so long. She continues to follow unusual safety practices that didn’t exist before, such as changing into fresh scrubs at an unusual frequency, isolating hospital clothing away from her family, and showering before been able to hug her family. But she now gets to hug her family and is vaccinated, hopeful that life will soon return to it’s 2020 pre-pandemic state.