In late March, a mutual friend of ours called with a grim picture of the situation on the ground at the Queens hospital where he works. New York City had not yet experienced the peak of the outbreak, but the hospital already had 140 COVID-positive patients, 35 of them on ventilators. And there were only five ventilators left.
Our friend, a physician, had just witnessed the death of a 27-year-old man with no chronic conditions. In his hospital, doctors were already making decisions about who to put on ventilators. “It’s a mess and there’s no help,” he told us. The young residents—doctors in training—were completely disillusioned; one of them told him, “When this is over, I don’t want to do this anymore, if this is what our health care system has come to.”
We should all be afraid about that reaction to COVID-19. If this pandemic can be compared to a war, we have sent our soldiers—our medical professionals—to the front lines without the protection and protocols they need to survive. Physicians, nurses, and other hospital workers are overwhelmed by endless streams of patients, the extra-long hours, and the deaths they see all around them. Scared and confused, they fight on. We should expect that when their duty is done, some of our best and brightest will decide never to return to the battlefield again.Health Care Employees Essay Sample
In this respect, this pandemic is an extension of the ordinary. The United States routinely neglects the needs of one of its most vital workforces. If COVID-19 has any silver linings, the most important one will be its exposure of the fault lines in American healthcare, including the fact that even before the epidemic hit, healthcare professionals were suffering from toxic levels of burnout that hampers their ability to care about their patients.
More broadly, this epidemic shows that many aspects of the way we speak and think about healthcare, and the way we provide it, need to be reconceived and redesigned. To do that, we need to listen to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
Despite the health risks of treating COVID-19 patients and the lack of masks and basic protection in many hospitals, healthcare professionals are not running from the challenge. Instead, they are building their own masks out of office supplies, coming out of retirement to offer aid, and isolating themselves in garages and trailers to protect their families.