But now, facing hostility in trying to save the lives of his patients, he says that, sadly, those days are long gone.
Lyonne is one of many doctors and nurses dealing with a surge in Covid-19 cases that are flooding hospitals as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads across the country.
Now health care workers fighting on the front lines of the pandemic are also coming face-to-face with patients who dismiss and even threaten how they are being treated with the virus. .
“People act as if they can come into a hospital and request a certain therapy or, conversely, decline any therapy, with the idea that they can choose their therapy any way they want. and can choose and direct. And it doesn’t work,” Lyons told CNN from CentraCare Hospital that he works in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
This dangerous misinformation has led to several lawsuits filed against hospitals seeking unproven medical treatments such as ivermectin. Health care providers are reporting growing hostility between medical workers and patients and their families.
It’s a constant dose of harassment and vitriol.
“They insult your intelligence, they insult your ability, and most hurtful of all, they say that by not using these remedies you are intentionally trying to harm the people we’ve tried to save.” Everything has been given for him,” Leon said.
About 70% of patients in Lyons’ ICU are ill with COVID-19, and almost all of them have not been vaccinated.
“The most difficult experience we have had is the family of a patient who, under a pseudonym, made threats against the hospital,” Lyons said. “It was a reference to make sure the hospital was closed and we have people coming in for you.”
“I’m not sure how someone would take the ‘We’re gonna come at that, we’re gonna march on the hospital. We’re coming for you’ anything other than a death threat.”
Leon knows he meets people on their worst days. As a critical care physician, he and other health care workers have long experienced aggression from patients and their loved ones in the most desperate situations.
But COVID has made those conversations even more difficult, especially now that so many of his patients are unaffiliated, distrustful of his experience, and are seeking alternative treatments because of misinformation.
“These are people who are advocating for their loved ones who are on life support. And I have a lot of sympathy,” he said.
But they feel they have been manipulated by bad information and other doctors who are not rooted in evidence-based science, the most popular being Ivermectin.
“And those are the people I have no respect for—the charlatans and the snake oil salesmen who are selling it,” Leon continued. “They are preying on people’s hope and trying to take advantage of desperate families who will do anything to get their loved one home.”
“It’s sad, we’re tired, we’re tired…”
According to Barbara Chapman, a nurse practitioner who works at the University of Texas at Tyler, health care workers are so tired, they sometimes need encouragement to walk from their cars to their workplace.
“It seems that when a veteran comes back from a war, he may be out of battle, but he hasn’t given up that war,” Chapman told Lavandera. “It’s a battlefield.”
Last summer, Chapman helped start a hotline providing mental health support to teachers and health care workers.
Doctors and nurses across the country expressed hope that the availability of vaccines, the most effective tool to prevent serious disease, would mean a gradual end to panic.
Instead, misinformation has led many to refuse vaccination, setting aside the hope that the country will reach herd immunity, at which point enough people are protected from a disease that has spread through the population. cannot spread.
“We want to help people. And now that people aren’t getting vaccinated, they’re not trusting us,” Chapman said. “They’re questioning our education and our background. It’s sad, we’re tired, we’re exhausted, and so we’re morally wounded in this outbreak.”
One emergency room doctor, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, talked about the extreme frustration and irritation that doctors feel when dealing with patients who are seeking unproven treatment. , but continue to oppose the vaccine.
“I mean, can you imagine if a dentist had as many arguments about brushing teeth as we have about the COVID vaccine?” The doctor said. “No f**king would be a dentist.”
More than 69,700 Covid-19 patients were in US hospitals as of Wednesday, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services – a number that fell to nearly 45,000 on November 8.
According to Johns Hopkins, there were an average of 1,324 Kovid-19 deaths in the US in a day compared to the previous week, which was 11% more than the week before.
Concerns about mass abandonment of health care workers
At the start of the pandemic, health care workers were willing to make life-changing sacrifices to help save lives in the midst of a world-changing pandemic.
Many lived apart from their families to rent apartments and serve their patients. Residents throw parades for him to thank him for his work. They have reused PPE, canceled holidays and worked extended shifts for employers, they don’t always value their safety.
But now, with the availability of vaccines, which may be the only way to end the cycle of tragedy, many are concerned that health care workers, who are undervalued and face constant threats, will finally say that they have enough.
A study led by the American Medical Association examining the relationship between “US health care workers’ COVID-related stress and work intentions” has highlighted serious concern that the country is on the verge of a “turnover wave” among the health care industry. But maybe.
The study found that 1 in 5 physicians and 2 in 5 nurses intend to leave their current practice within 2 years.
Even Lyons, who has worked at the same hospital since the start of the pandemic, says it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain optimistic.
“It’s often heartbreaking. It’s demoralizing at times. We try our best to remain optimistic,” he said. “But as the months go by and we find ourselves more and more tired and more and more my colleagues are leaving this profession. It gets harder and harder every day.”