KANSAS CITY NORTH, Mo. — Two doctors at a local hospital are navigating this pandemic as a married couple. As you can imagine, it has supportive perks, but also serious challenges.
The dynamic duo at North Kansas City Hospital comes face to face with equipment and a disease they’ve never seen before. They’ve also been forced to have difficult conversations with family about both being on the frontlines.
“The ICUs look almost like the war zone,” Dr. Charles Vossler said.
Coronavirus is their enemy, and personal protective equipment is the armor for these doctors.
“The first time you put that equipment on, I don’t think you’ll ever forget it,” Charles said.
Dana and Charles Vossler are husband and wife. They fought on the frontlines in the military. They said they face a similar battle today.
“You’re going back into civilian life,” Dana said, “and you might see somebody walking around without a mask on and you almost want to shake people and say, ‘Are you aware there’s a war on? We just came out of the trench. There’s a war!’”
More than 400,000 Americans have now died due to coronavirus. A CDC doctor predicts that number will jump to 500,000 by mid-February. This virus has caused more American deaths than World War II.
“It’s not a pretty death,” Charles said.
Dana said 400,000 is too many.
“Every death certificate I sign with this is heartbreaking, but wearing the masks — most people are really protecting each other and doing a great job,” she said.
As a married couple and parents within inches of the fight, they were forced into difficult conversations as a family.
“If one of us gets sick, our child’s now old enough to go off to college, but still, we don’t want to leave the legacy of a child who lost both parents in a pandemic,” Dana said.
“We’re very thankful we didn’t have to go through that,” Charles added.
There’s hope. The Vosslers recently received their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Charles was the first physician at the hospital to get it. He was also the first doctor to intubate a COVID-19 patient in 2020.
Since then, he said they’ve followed the CDC guidelines, and it has kept them safe.
“The fear for your patient and the fear you have for yourself is an experience I haven’t had in a long time,” Charles said.
The Vosslers’ main message after spending so much time taking care of patients inside hospital walls: wear your mask, follow the guidelines and get the vaccine when it becomes widely available.