The Covid pandemic has brought about new challenges to the medical community and society as a whole. There have been times where we were forced to give up rights and do things we are not comfortable doing. We as Americans do not give up our rights freely and will definitely put up a fight whenever we feel our rights are being infringed. We have fights over why we would or should wear a mask. Fights over vaccines and if they should be mandated. Fights over schools and how the school year should be laid out, if the kids should wear masks, should we have full sessions, etc.
There is a bigger fight happening for our frontline medical workers. In the past 18 months, their world has been drastically changed as well. There have been new rules, mask mandates, fluctuating hospital census and nationwide there have been staffing issues.
In a recent poll by Medscape, they found a 100% increase in physician burnout and alarming increases in physician suicides and suicidal ideations, as well as increased consumption of alcohol.
In my conversations with frontline workers, I have heard feelings of sincere frustration. They go to work, have to don layers of PPE and take care of extremely sick people for hours at a time. They have had to sit vigil with patients of all ages who are quite possibly facing death. This alone can be daunting. Yet, they go home and turn on the news and someone is there touting that Covid is not real or that the numbers are inflated, or that this is something that the other political party is blowing out of proportion. Then, they get onto social media and see people making statements about how we are “sheeple” and “don’t buy the lies.” After all this, they then get up the next morning and put in another 12-hour shift hoping that the numbers are coming down.
A recent AMA survey showed that 96% of physicians have chosen to be vaccinated (this survey occurred before any mandate of the vaccine). I can remember this last winter seeing in social media many physicians using humor as a defense, saying, “the general public: errr I don’t know if I want that vaccine it sounds scary,” Physicians: “I would take the shot in my eye.”
We understand that the world has been turned upside down, businesses have struggled and failed, and people have lost many things beyond their rights. However, please keep in mind that the person hearing/seeing the degrading comments towards the rules, vaccines and mandates may actually be the person who is sacrificing and working for their fellow man.
Psychiatric Center of Northwest Ohio