COVID-19: DOs in Action

Editor’s note: This article, authored by Gina Kilker, originally appeared in the November 2020 newsletter of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI) and is reprinted with permission. Alumnus Dr. David Lindner is subdivision head of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at Naples Community Healthcare; medical director of NCH’s COVID-19 health care response, intensive care units, respiratory care and pulmonary rehabilitation; instructor of medicine at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine; associate professor of medicine at the University of Central Florida; and pulmonary program director of the internal medicine residency in the university’s College of Medicine.

Dr. David Lindner

In early 2020, as news of a novel virus spreading in China showed potential for expansion that would threaten the United States, many ACOI members had to shift gears and rearrange their priorities. For ACOI member David Lindner, D.O.89, M.B.A., FACOI, FCCP, a pulmonary critical care board-certified internist in Florida, that’s when a new focus on COVID-19 began to transform his world.

In March, the administration of his hospital, Naples Community Healthcare (NCH), asked Dr. Lindner to take on a new role as the COVID-19 medical director for the 700+ hospital bed system. Consequently, he gave up his practice for two months and found himself in the media spotlight as he became the “face” of COVID-19 for Southwest Florida.

As the primary media spokesperson for NCH, charged with communicating about how the health system was responding to the new health threat, he wrote articles for several publications and submitted research papers on COVID-19. In addition, he gave multiple TV, radio and newspaper interviews. Recently, marking his fourth appearance to help elected leaders create COVID-19 masking policies, he testified in front of the Collier County Commission for extending the county mask mandate. Thanks to Dr. Lindner and his team, the commission agreed to extending a county masking mandate through April 15, 2021.

“ACOI DOs are involved in the COVID-19 pandemic,” he says. “I couldn’t have done all of this without my partners, three of whom are also DOs.”

In July, Dr. Lindner was interviewed on a WINK News segment about how Naples Community Healthcare doctors were finding new ways to treat packed ICUs full of COVID-19 patients. The broadcast also ran nationally.

Dr. Lindner has also collaborated with the Florida surgeon general and participated with establishing an NGO (non-governmental organization) partner presence for an at-risk migrant population with COVID-19. The effort received national attention and was featured in a New York Times article about the community of Immokalee, an agricultural region in South Florida and home to many immigrant and migrant families who work the fields. Dr. Lindner has partnered with the Department of Health and has lectured alongside other Mayo Clinic providers on COVID-19. His facility was involved with Remdesivir research, Mayo plasma research and a 4,500-person antibody study.

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