From an ER physician: COVID is no hoax and no joke; an experience to be missed

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RBC | Former Pioneers Medical Center emergency room physician Kurt Papenfus, MD, was recently released to his home in Cheyenne Wells to continue recuperating after a week’s stay in a Denver hospital while battling COVID-19. He was interviewed by friend and part-time Meeker resident James Magid by telephone last week, who shared Papenfus’ thoughts with the HT.

“This COVID SARS2 virus is the meanest, nastiest, hunter-killer virus ever. It is everywhere and nowhere: it is hunting you right now.

It is hard for people to realize that they are the prey. If you have been trained for combat, special forces or Navy Seals, you know what it is to be 100% on guard all the time, because you know what it is like to be hunted yourself. In combat there is no trivial activity, but 100% concentration on the mission and security.

It is too bad to remind people that this level of attention is now necessary in everyday life, but our survival depends on it.

I know, because I trained Tenth Special Forces Groups in mountain medicine, and those who learned their lessons survived. And now I recommend that my friends take this stuff seriously.

Currently I have been in the hospital in Denver for a week, hoping I recover from a severe experience with Covid. I survived several very scary and close calls. I have been in “hand-to-hand” combat with this thing, and I am determined to survive and help others when I recover. Take it seriously.”

Papenfus, 63, hopes that his comments will influence more members of our community to take this thing seriously, and avoid the normal trivial activities and concentrate on surviving this killer that is hunting us.

His story is a reminder that the effects of COVID-19 extend beyond individual cases and outcomes. In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Papenfus explained that while he is out sick, Keefe Memorial Hospital in Cheyenne County is without a full-time emergency room doctor — in the middle of a pandemic — and the Lincoln Community Hospital in Hugo where he worked shifts is also short a doctor.

Special to the Herald Times

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