Former respiratory therapist one of many joining COVID-19 battle
Hundreds of former Alberta health-care workers are offering to pitch in during crisis
Jody Lund is stepping away from a career in film production and jumping back into his scrubs to help battle back against the COVID-19 pandemic.
A few years ago, Lund said he left his stressful job as a respiratory therapist to try something completely different, and signed up for a film and video production program.
But when the COVID-19 crisis hit, Lund said he starting thinking about helping out by returning to his old job in the intensive care unit.
Then his old boss called him to ask just that, formally requesting that he help run potentially life-saving ventilators.
"I feel like, especially when the system is so burdened like this, every little bit helps," Lund said. "I already know that there's lots of open shifts. They're trying to find people to fill these open shifts."
Hundreds of retirees step up
So far, about 46 doctors have come out of retirement to help during the pandemic, according to Alberta Health Services.
The agency has also heard from 400 retired respiratory therapists, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses who are willing to help.
"AHS is extremely grateful and is in the process of evaluating those who have offered their services," reads a statement provided by AHS to CBC News.
Lund said he stepped up because he knows that in addition to ventilators, the health system also needs people to run them.
The Alberta government is currently working to double the number of available ventilators by the pandemic's peak.
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Lund said he knows there's a good chance he could contract the novel coronavirus, but said the benefits outweigh the risks.
But Lund added it's crucial that he has the necessary personal protective equipment to stay safe.
"I'm not willing to put myself at that great of risk to walk into a patient's room unprotected," he said.
With files from Colleen Underwood