Jonathan Dobrinsky ’03: Emergency Medicine During COVID-19

Posted by Pine Crest School on September 22, 2020 at 1:00 PM

Jonathan Dobrinsky ’03 works tirelessly on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.

Following his parents’ footsteps into medicine—Dr. Dobrinsky’s father was a cardiologist and his mother is a nurse—he did not initially study to be a doctor.


After graduating from Pine Crest School, Dr. Dobrinsky completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan with a degree in Business Administration. His undergraduate years continued to broaden his horizons and hone his passions. He came to realize his true calling was to help and heal those in need, especially those needing emergency care.


"There was a 180-degree turn after business school,” said Dr. Dobrinsky. “I started taking pre-med classes, took the MCAT, and earned my doctor of medicine degree. Mr. Kennedy, my science teacher during my senior year in the Upper School, would be amused to know what I am doing today."


Today, Dr. Dobrinsky is a board-certified physician in emergency medicine. He has been providing emergency room (ER) care at Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale since completing his training in 2017.


When cases of COVID-19 began to skyrocket in March, the spring was a very scary time for Dr. Dobrinsky as a husband and an ER physician. No one knew what to expect from the virus and he was continuously in close proximity to hundreds of patients with virus symptoms.


"I was nervous with the constant threat of my colleagues and I catching the virus and spreading it to our families," Dr. Dobrinky said. “The uncertainty of not knowing which treatments will work and the fear of contracting the virus makes my work challenging.”


"As time moved on, I became more comfortable with the fact that following precautionary measures and the proper usage of personal protection equipment (PPE) greatly improves our chances of staying virus free," Dr. Dobrinsky explained. “I am very thankful to Broward General for securing enough PPE to allow me to stay safe while working with COVID patients.”


Dr. Dobrinsky recalls numerous people who were especially ill and, because of these unique circumstances, found themselves alone, fighting for their lives in the emergency department and later in the ICU.


"They were only able to speak to loved ones by phone, if at all, depending on what respiratory support they required,” he said. “We celebrated those who recovered and could return home, but always knew that many others would succumb to the disease.”


“I was particularly touched by the courage each patient showed," he shared. "We’ve all now realized that our jobs extend beyond medical expertise. We had to be a source of encouragement and compassion to every patient so they could find the strength and courage to fight."


Dr. Dobrinsky remembers his thirteen years at Pine Crest fondly.


“To this day, my best friend is someone I met on my first day of kindergarten,” he said. “Eleven years later, we ended up together on the 2002 state championship lacrosse team."


He reminds Panthers in school today to always look for opportunities in difficult situations.


"This year has been painful and not much fun, but use it as a growth opportunity,” he said. “Even though it’s a tough year, stay focused, and get the most out of your Pine Crest experience. Ultimately, things will get better. It will not be 100% the same as before, but take advantage of all the opportunities you’re being given. They’ll be life-changing."


Topics: Alumni, 2020, COVID-19