Previous posts have examined the idea that the social media universe is more than just a hangout for fringe people with perhaps too-strong opinions. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, professionals in many fields have recognized the value of an online presence. With the chances for live interactions severely limited, experts and practitioners make the most of an opportunity to get into people’s heads — in the best possible sense, of course.
Medical professionals are not going to so many conferences or pharmaceutically-funded vacations, these days. They may have reorganized their office practice to emphasize telemedicine, or limited personal contact in other ways for the safety of patients, staff, and themselves. Medical professionals are a resource of the utmost importance. They need to take care of themselves, and the public needs to take care of them too.
This is one of the points touched on by doctors, nurses, therapists, and many others in the healing professions who correspond online. They can share their experiences and insights with each other and the public. Some of those experiences are harrowing. Here are excerpts from a Twitter thread belonging to JAFERD MD:
I’m an ER doctor… I can’t get most patients to keep a mask on when I’m out of the room, or wear it properly when I’m in. I now have Covid. Mild for now. I am very optimistic that I will stay well, thanks to the vaccine.
Could I get really really sick? Sure. Could I even die? Yep. But I’ve done the right thing to minimize those chances.
Another medic responded that although he and his immune-compromised wife had both been vaccinated and took all kinds of precautions, they both caught the virus, and his wife died. This life-saving frontline worker was haunted by the thought that he might have brought the disease home from his Emergency Room job.
In mid-August, pediatrician @DMcSwainMD expressed deep discouragement not only because a surge of pediatric hospitalizations and deaths was on the horizon, “but because my colleagues have been attacked and spat on for trying to prevent it.” A paramedic reported colleagues being spat upon in ambulances by COVID-19 patients on the way to the hospital.
In India, numerous doctors, and indeed even workers suspected of being doctors, have been physically assaulted when patients died of the virus. The attackers are the patients’ attenders, usually family members. In the U.S., at least so far, the damage has been mainly mental and emotional. A medical professional Victor Ruiz wrote on Twitter,
I stood by his bedside as the family said goodbye over the IPAD… I listened to their goodbyes. I pushed out of my mind the realization this human being that was so loved and cherished wasn’t vaccinated. In this moment it was just compassion. I held his hand as they spoke so he would think they were in the room… Then I took him off the ventilator.
This is what happens when all hope is gone, a scenario that occurs all too often. The writer found himself being angry not about the vaccination refusal, but about the fact that he had taken so many patients off ventilators that he could not even remember all their names anymore.
Through social media, some Americans claim their right to freedom, while others remind them of how limited freedom is when a person is strapped to a bed with a tube down their throat, in a medically induced coma. And where else do you get to hear remarks like this one from a pseudonymous therapist? “A former client who has been injecting street drugs for years, told me she would never trust this vaccine. She added COVID is a little worse than the flu.”
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: @JAFERD MD, Twitter, 09/13/21
Source: @Victor Ruiz, Twitter, 10/20/21
Image by Jernej Furman/CC BY 2.0