Local doctor opens up about COVID pressure and patient care: ‘I was nervous I couldn’t meet it’

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The recent COVID surge is having an impact on our hospitals.

It is stressing our doctors and nurses to the limit too. One doctor told News10NBC she felt she neared her breaking point over Thanksgiving.

Dr. Charlene Conners, Internal medicine: "I felt my own personal despondence about being accessible to patients 24 – 7 and still feeling like I hadn’t gotten on top of a problem."

Dr. Conners is an internist in Brighton. Her office gets up to 40 calls a day from people who think they have COVID.

When I talked to her I could feel her anxiety about the pressure and workload.

"I was nervous I couldn’t meet it," she said.

Watch the public service announcement Dr. Conners produced in 2020 in the video in the player below:

The hallway of her private practice has photos of people Conners and her staff have vaccinated by going into hard-to-reach areas of the city. She says they convinced one man to get vaccinated after talking to him for six months.

She also does house calls.

That’s how Michael Gilfilian got his vaccination last spring. He made it into the office to get his booster Thursday.

"All done," the nurse practitioner said.

"Didn’t feel a thing," Gilfilian said.

"Thank you for getting your booster," the nurse practitioner said.

Dr. Conners called me to talk. She’s concerned that people get their health information from websites and press conferences.

"I want them to understand that their physician’s office is home base," she said. "I want them to take responsibility for their decision-making. I want them to think about other people besides themselves."

Brean: "Are you worried about what people will do over the Christmas holiday?"

Dr. Charlene Conners: "I was worried about Thanksgiving and I’m worried about Christmas."