We are neglecting doctors and nurses on frontlines of COVID-19


What would we do if health care workers just decided not to come to work?

Doctors in Emilia Romagna
Will we lose them?
As we used to say when I worked in television in the earlier days when everything was live, 'Go to black." That means fade out of whatever image you are on to no picture, which was black. That was easy, cause at least it gave you a few moments to decide what to do. We can't do that today, because this 'fading to black' means, well, more disaster in that moment when you try to regroup. It's like a vicious circle and the healthcare industry is caught in the middle.

Thomas Kirsch, an emergency physician in Washington, D.C., is unloading on us the facts of how his peers feel about the situation they find themselves in today. It's crucial, and to say the least, they, and all health care, are on the edge. Dr. Kirsch worked in Liberia at the height of the Ebola epidemic, in the fall of 2014, so he knows what a pandemic is like and how everyone reacts to it. It was so bad there the healthcare system collapsed.

Image result for sars in liberia
SARS in Toronto
Not saying this country is as desperate as Liberia was then, but with the incompetence of Donald Trump running our show, and if he continues his miscalculations, the same could happen here. Dr. Kirsch speaks of other pandemics like SARS where, 44 percent of all infections were in health-care providers. We must figure out how to protect the healthcare providers, and provide them with the best supplies and equipment to help us and them.

Here is a terrifying question from Kirsch: "How many of us will die before we start to walk away from our jobs?" The question is not rhetorical and the doc goes on to talk about an incident in Arkansas where, due to COVID-19, two doctors are in ICU. Yes, this is unacceptable,but without the proper direction from the CDC, it is bound to happen. The CDC has what looks like adequate advice available to clinicians, but the question is do they have the supplies and equipment necessary to do their jobs safely? Here's what Dr. Kirsch says...
"The United States needs its health-care workers to see it through this crisis. But there are no replacements on the shelf. They can’t be built, trained, or repurposed from other jobs. Unless the country does dramatically more to provide them with the equipment they need to do their job safely, to assure them they will be cared for if they fall ill, and to provide their family with a measure of security, it risks losing them. What happens when they need to be quarantined? When they start to die? Or don’t come to work?"
Image result for us disastersHe adds: "It’s hard to plan after that happens.' It's not hard, it's impossible! And from another angle, for those in an emergency "No one is so fearless or stupid as to discount all risks." In other words, they can take just so much. Dr. Kirsch has more comparisons...
"Physicians fled epidemics in ancient Greece, the black death in Europe, and the great influenza pandemic of 1918. In Vietnam, when SARS cases showed up in one hospital, most of the staff left, leaving only a few to risk their life providing care. During the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014 and ’15, at least 837 health-care workers were infected, and 490 died. The infection also spread to at least three health-care workers caring for patients with Ebola in the United States and Europe. Providers were up to 32 times more likely to be infected with Ebola than the general population."
This has not happened yet in the U.S., but the implication is that it could, and real quick if Donald Trump doesn't start doing the right thing. The first thing he must do is to listen to his experts, Dr. Fauci, and others at the CDC and other agencies in the healthcare industry. Number two, take their advice and quit playing doctor and scientist like a moron. And pandemics are different than other disaster scenarios like earthquakes, floods, and even war....
"One study in 2010 found that 28 percent of the hospital staff said that they would be unlikely to respond to an influenza pandemic if asked, but not required. In a German study, 36 percent of health-care workers said they would not come to work during an influenza pandemic. For some job categories, fewer than 50 percent of workers said they would report to duty. What made workers more likely to say they would show up? Confidence that they were safe at work and getting to work, that their family was safe and cared for, and knowing their colleagues would also respond."
And these are likely the conditions many U.S. healthcare workers feel they are trapped in with Donald Trump in control. There is much more and I urge you to read this article to understand what your healthcare providers are going through with the COVID-19 pandemic. It's going to get worse before it gets better, and even with T-rump predicting a peak in deaths in two weeks, there is another side to that curve. And besides, no one believes his predictions anyway. Stay safe!

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