Sunday, October 17, 2021

Health workers who once saluted as heroes are now getting threats

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — After more than a year of celebrating by saluting American health care workers and clapping from windows and balconies into the night for saving lives in the COVID-19 outbreak, some were attacked and ditched. Panic buttons are being issued in this case. His scrubs before going out in public for fear of harassment.

Across the country, doctors and nurses on the front lines against the coronavirus are dealing with hostility, threats and violence from patients angered by safety rules designed to prevent the spread of the disease.

“A year ago, we are health care heroes and everyone is clapping for us,” said Dallas-based emergency room physician Dr. Stu Kaufman said. “And now we’re being harassed and mistrusted and ridiculed in some areas for what we’re trying to do, which is just hopeless and depressing.”

Cox Medical Center Branson in Missouri began giving panic buttons to 400 nurses and other staff after 123 attacks tripled per year between 2019 and 2020, a spokesman said. A nurse had to get an X-ray of her shoulder after the attack.

Hospital spokeswoman Brandy Clifton said the pandemic had driven at least some of the increase.

“Many nurses say, ‘It’s just part of the job,'” Clifton said. “It’s not part of the job.”

Some hospitals have limited the number of public entrances. In Idaho, nurses said they were afraid to go to the grocery store until they ran out of their scrubs so as not to be attacked by angry residents.

“It’s just one more added pressure on healthcare workers, who are already facing a lot of stress,” said Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where some doctors received threats online. Huh.

Dr Chris Sampson, an emergency room physician in Columbia, Missouri, said violence has always been a problem in the emergency department, but the situation has gotten worse in recent months. Sampson said he was pushed against a wall and seen kicking nurses.

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Dr. Ashley Coggins, of St. Peter’s Health Regional Medical Center in Helena, Montana, said she recently asked a patient if she wanted to be vaccinated.

“He said, ‘F, no,’ and I didn’t ask further because I personally don’t want to be yelled at,” Coggins said. “You know, it’s a strange time in our world, and the respect that we used to have for each other, the respect that we used to have for the caregivers and the physicians and nurses — it doesn’t always happen, and it’s not always the case. makes way and louder.”

Coggins said the patient told him he “wanted to strangle President Biden” to push for vaccinations, prompting him to change the subject. She said security guards are now in charge of enforcing mask rules for hospital visitors so that nurses no longer have to ask people to leave.

Hostility is making an already stressful job difficult. Many places are facing acute shortage of staff, as nurses have been burnt out and jobs have been lost.

Dr. Kensey Graves, a physician at the University of Utah, said, “I think one thing we’ve seen and heard from many of our people is that it’s really hard to come to work every day when people interact with each other. behave badly.” Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“If you have to fight with someone about wearing a mask, or if you’re not allowed to go and we have to argue about that, it’s stressful.”

Hollingsworth contributed from Mission, Kansas. Iris Samuels from Helena, Montana contributed to this report. Samuels is a core member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative.

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