Thoughts About Medical Workers
Treating COVID-19 Patients
by Marty Poehler
I’m a salesman who has been furloughed from my company because of the COVID-19 pandemic. My state of North Carolina has had a mandatory stay-at-home order since March 30th. So, I haven’t been able to go out and visit clients in their stores since then. Thankfully the Federal Economic Impact Payment of $1200 has just arrived, and I’m starting to receive North Carolina Unemployment payments. So I’ve been able to keep my head above water financially.
I agree with the stay-at-home order – that it’s the best way to save lives by keeping down the spread of the virus. It makes sense to follow this, in addition to what we’ve all heard we should do: stay six feet apart (“social distancing”), wear masks when we go out in public, and wash our hands frequently.
Some states have started to re-open. My own state had a “partial re-opening” of some retail businesses Friday, which will be followed by further re-openings of other kinds of businesses two or three weeks later. It makes good sense to me that we need to get the economy opened at some point. It seems good that we still follow common sense by staying at home as much as we can, and doing the three things mentioned above while we get back to some kind of “normal”.
Here’s a short excerpt I found on the Internet about what nurses are facing in Louisiana as they serve COVID-19 patients, found at https://www.fox8live.com/2020/04/07/healthcare-workers-front-lines-covid-pandemic-may-be-dealing-with-ptsd-future/
Referring to treating their patients: “’It’s extremely stressful because they are super sick,’ says a nurse. ‘All of us, we are just spent.’”
“The Tulane Hospital ICU nurse, who doesn’t want to be identified, says it’s the hardest things she’s ever had to do.”
“’We’ve had 27 and 98-year-olds. I mean they’re on ventilators. They are fighting for their lives and they’re alone. There are no visitors allowed. They are alone. The only human contact they have are us,’ says the nurse.”
This article (and many others) say that medical staff treating COVID-19 patients face stress that make them vulnerable to the PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) that some soldiers get who’ve fought in actual war battles. This PTSD could come to medical staff from seeing many die, and from having fears for their own safety and for the safety of their families who might catch the disease from them.
Why do I bring this up about nurses and other medical personnel? You may be like me – having stayed at home for the past four to seven weeks. You may be itching to get out, and are now getting ready to “re-enter” society. You may feel it’s right to just live like everything is normal again. No need to keep six feet apart or wear a mask out in public any more.
Even if you don’t consider yourself likely to get sick with the virus – think of others who you may infect if you do get the virus and have no symptoms. Think of the nurses and medical staff who you would expect to treat those who you unwittingly infect – or who would gladly treat you if you get sick from the virus. Isn’t it worth a little inconvenience – to save those who are dedicated to serving others -- from years of pain and stress? Isn’t it right to honor their service, by watching out for them in a small way, so they might avoid that?