KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He’s a respiratory therapist who oftentimes feels winded himself.
Sadik Osman said he’s screaming at the top of his lungs, making the same plea over and over – "Put the mask on."
“It’s a simple thing to do and that has a big impact to you and the people around you," Osman said, referring to guidance from health officials to wear a mask to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. "Some people feel like it’s a freedom, but when you get sick, when you cannot breathe. When you’re on a ventilator...”
That’s when you see Osman, who has been a respiratory therapist with Truman Medical Center for eight years.
“Every day we’re putting our lives in danger, protecting other people," he said, "and to stop that society has to protect us. It’s very difficult and rewarding at the same time because you’re taking care of someone who needs your help.”
Dozens have needed Osman’s help during the coronavirus pandemic. And his patients are getting younger and younger. First he was treating the elderly, now Osman said it’s people in their 40s, 30s and 20s.
“It’s so difficult when you see someone 35 and 36 years-old, did not have any previous conditions, and they came talking. And then within a day, they end up with difficulty breathing on a vent," Osman said. "And then you hope that person comes around, but they will not. It just keeps going down until they die.”
Saving the patient is a top priority for Osman and all hospital workers, but just as important is making it home safely to their family. Osman said he does all of this for his daughter.
“She means a lot to me," he said. "Because me coming here, taking care of a patient; she’s the one thing I remember that if I go home, I’m not gonna take anything with me.”
Not even regret.
That is why Osman gives his all while working at Truman Medical Center, and he asks members of the public to do the same.
“Even though I’m taking care of a COVID-19 patient, at the same time I have a responsibility to myself and my loved ones," Osman said. "I don’t know about politics, but I work in health care. People are getting sick. People need to improve, so in order for us to move on this, we have to put the mask on and the people who think this is not real; they need to visit the hospital.”