Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

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Dec
8

Our healthcare system is breaking.

The healthcare system is in perilous shape.

The fourth wave of COVID is pushing many workers past exhaustion, anger and frustration to despair.  If you are one of the anti-vaxxer, anti-mask, “personal freedom” people, this is on you.

Healthcare workers say:

  • “You feel expendable. You can’t help thinking about how this country sent us to the front lines with none of the equipment needed for the battle,”
  • “You look at staffing, preparedness, what the priorities were for many hospitals during the crisis, and it’s clear the industry is driven by profits rather than well-being of patients or health workers,”
  • “As psychiatrists, I think we were all seeing the warning signs. You had doctors suddenly writing their wills, talking about how they felt abandoned to die, how the only choice they faced was being called a hero or coward,”
  • “It’s hard to let go of the anti-mask thing…The worst thing is the panic you see on dying people’s faces when they realize this could be it…”
  • “There have been many healthcare workers who have not only thrown in the towel, but have said they are never coming back,”

Over half a million healthcare workers quit their jobs in August, and more have left since then. Three of every ten healthcare workers are considering quitting.

Traveling nurses in many areas are getting north of $100 an hour, while their full-time colleagues are making less than half of that. Yet traveling nurse staffing agencies have more than 40,000 unfilled vacancies.

Oh, and the average nurse is over 50 years old, and that has not been an easy 25 years with often-brutal shift hours, lots of standing, lifting and emotional stress. Combine wage disparities with the risk of bringing COVID home to family and children with the pandemic of the unvaccinated and we get…

a disaster in the making.  The toll is not only personal, it is national.

Hospitals in several states are again postponing all but emergency surgeries.

Some areas are so overwhelmed patients requiring higher-level care are being shipped out of state.

What’s truly awful about this is so much of it was preventable.

What’s even worse is the continued refusal by many to get vaccinated and wear masks. These people are destroying our healthcare system and the people who take care of us.

This is personal for me; family members are front-line healthcare workers and I see the toll this is taking on them every day.

What does this mean for you?

Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Take responsibility. 

 

 


4 thoughts on “Our healthcare system is breaking.”

  1. Joe, I am with you. My daughter works in a rural nursing home and many times she is the only nurse on staff to take care of two wings. They are unable to staff appropriately. The love of her elderly patients is the only thing that keeps her going. The situation we are in is avoidable even if all the anti-vaxxers would just mask up it would help a lot. But we have lost our sense of unity. Many of us in our 70’s had parents that did what ever it took to make life better for their children in world war 2 not just those that served in the armed services but the country as a whole sacrificed with rationing and copper and metal drives but since then we individually have become a very selfish and self centered. We are the “I” generation not the “WE” generation. Thank you for staying on this topic.

    1. Todd – thanks for the reminder – we can look to the past for guidance on how we should react to and handle crises.

      be well Joe

  2. I think some would say our healthcare system has been breaking down even pre-covid. further, I suspect that if we looked at the population that chooses not to get health insurance and opposes gov mandated health insurance it would overlap closely with the anti-vax, anti-mask crowd. It is to the point where I would be tempted to say “you exercised your “personal freedom” and so you must accept the consequences of that choice – no admission to the hospital. I resist that temptation because it would be wrong, and I am mindful of the children and others you aren’t given the choice.

    1. Stephen – thanks for the note, and I deeply regret that I have to agree; the “system” has been in decline for years.

      The ethical issues surrounding vaccine compliance are knotty indeed. At some point – which I hope we do not reach – healthcare providers may have to make choices regarding who gets care.

      That will further the burden on an already-overburdened soul.

      be well – Joe

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates

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