Our Front Line Heroes: Meet Dr. Youmna DiStefano, MD

Fort Lauderdale Moms Blog is honored to pay tribute to our frontline heroes in the midst of this global pandemic.

#OurFrontLineHeroes

It is our hope that with this tribute series and the offer of support to #OurFrontLineHeroes, they will feel seen, honored, valued, and so cherished! Frontline workers include (but are certainly not limited to) first responders, healthcare workers, law enforcement, scientist, lab workers, and so many others.

We value and appreciate the sacrifices you make every day, reporting to work.

To all frontline workers: We salute you, support you, and we are grateful for you!

This week we are thrilled to honor Dr. Youmna DiStefano, MD!


Meet Dr. Youmna DiStefano, MD a Pain Treatment Specialist

Dr. DiStefano, tell us about your work and what you do in your practice.

My primary work is in a Pain Medicine private practice, which we have limited to patients with acute and intractable pain who would otherwise suffer considerably if not provided with pain care.

How has COVID-19 affected your work?

I put my private practice here in Florida on pause and answered the call of duty to serve New York during this crisis. I volunteered at New York Health and Hospitals/Queens. New Yorkers are proud, hard-working, passionate people, and I am truly blessed to have been trained and groomed for Anesthesiology for three years in a New York hospital. This was my way of giving back.

What it is like serving every day on the frontlines?

It’s been gut-wrenching to see patients in the ICU not able to be visited by their loved ones. Once they are intubated, patients’ mortality rate hovers around 60-70%, and to think that my face may be the last face these patients ever get to see before dying has been emotionally draining. Most of the patients we are serving are non-English speaking, but I have been using my limited foreign language skills to say words of encouragement and support without giving false reassurances. It’s been really hard to take everything in while doing my job safely and judiciously.

When duty calls. Dr. DiStefano arriving in New York.

What acts of kindness and encouragement have you seen during this time?

Restaurants have been catering free meals to hospital workers; Uber drivers have been disinfecting their vehicles and giving personal protection advice; hospital janitors have been working hard to keep areas safe and clean. 

How has the global pandemic influenced your family personally?

Volunteering away from home has definitely disrupted my routine in terms of cooking my meals, exercising, sleeping in my bed, the list goes on… I am currently living in a government-subsidized hotel room with the most basic of amenities. That being said, I am very grateful for a fridge, and for the access to food markets and delivery service from delicious ethnic restaurants. I also miss my husband, whom I love and adore.

What motivates you to wake up every day and continue to fight?

My husband’s hugs; penguin videos; playing with my friend Jovana’s baby girl.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

What message have you bought back from your experience in New York or encouragement do you have for others during this time?

The Queens borough is very resilient and unified. The doctors, nurses, and support staff at my hospital are proud workers who are incredibly invested in their communities and passionate about serving their largely underprivileged patients. They are the children of immigrant parents, or immigrants themselves, who are no strangers to struggle and hardship. Most everybody I have been working with has been braving their days with a steadfast smile, and with utmost grace and collective thinking.

 

 


As we launched #OurFrontLineHeroes Tribute Series, our hearts filled with so much appreciation, accompanied by a deep yearning to do more. We know that the effects of this global pandemic may not be felt right away by our frontline heroes (because you are “going through it” and so focused on others and not yourself), but it will creep-up and when it hits home we want you to know we’re here for you! Fort Lauderdale Moms Blog is proud to partner with Wellspring Living, Joy Acaso (A Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Anxiety Support Coach) to bring all our frontline heroes a place especially for them. This is an open invitation to join a support group created just for you. It is our goal through this partnership to serve you when you need us, just like you’ve served your community…let us support you! Feel free to join anytime. Even heroes can’t do their job alone and that’s ok. We got you!

Thank you for your hard work!

We admire you, support you, and are thankful for YOU!

Collectively, we will get through this!


Recognize and honor the Moms and Frontline workers in your life by using #OurFrontlineHeroes to nominate someone or send us an email: info{at}fortlauderdalemomsblog.com

Looking for helpful resources to support your family during this time? Check out Navigating The Normal: Your Resource Guide to Managing Today, it is packed full of information and updated weekly!

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