Emergency Room Hero: Scott Samlan, MD

Emergency Room Hero: Scott Samlan, MD

Mount Sinai Hospital

“I deal with gunshots every day, trauma, and crazy stuff, and this is the only thing that scares me,” says Scott Samlan, MD, an emergency room physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, describing the toll that Covid-19 had taken on patients and medical providers.

Samlan’s impassioned description of conditions in the emergency department during the early days of the pandemic aired on CBS This Morning while Samlan, dressed in scrubs, was taking a short break from his job. Perhaps because of its immediacy and candor, the video went viral and brought Samlan attention he hadn’t been expecting.

Scott Samlan quote Samlan’s goal in that moment was to help people understand the reality of the illness. “People needed to know this wasn’t a hoax,” he says.

Even before the viral moment, Samlan had been working to lessen Covid-19’s deadly impact. Although he and other medical staff at Mount Sinai never had a problem getting adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), healthcare workers elsewhere were in desperate need of masks, gowns, and other PPE. 

To address this need, Samlan and some colleagues started a GoFundMe page that raised more than $60,000 to provide PPE to healthcare providers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and California.

“It was remarkable the support we had,” he says.

Even though the future remains uncertain, Samlan, who grew up in Northbrook, is proud to be a member of a profession providing care to many, even at great risk to their own welfare.

“Their dedication is unwavering,” he says. “I’ve never been so proud to be in the healthcare field.”

Originally published in the Fall 2020/Winter 2021 print issue. Photo by Jim Vondruska