Health workers hailed as heroes now under threat – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

More than a year after American health care workers on the front lines against COVID-19 were saluted as heroes clapping at night from windows and balconies, some are being issued panic buttons in assault and foregoing scrubs before going out in public for fear of harassment.

Across the country, doctors and nurses are dealing with hostility, threats and violence from patients angry at safety rules designed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

A year ago, we were the champions of healthcare and everyone applauded us and now in some areas we’re being harassed, disbelief, and ridiculed for what we’re trying to do, and it’s frustrating and frustrating.

Dr. Stu Kaufman, ER physician in Dallas

A spokeswoman said Cox Medical Center Branson in Missouri began giving panic buttons to up to 400 nurses and other staff after assaults tripled annually between 2019 and 2020 to 123. One nurse had to have an X-ray of her shoulder after she was attacked, a spokeswoman said. .

Hospital spokeswoman Brandi Clifton said the pandemic prompted at least some of the increase.

“A lot of 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 unless they changed clothes so they wouldn’t be met by angry residents.

Hospital spokeswoman Caiti Bobbitt said doctors and nurses at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have been accused of killing patients by grieving family members who don’t believe COVID-19 is real. Others have been the subject of harmful rumors spread by people angry about the pandemic.

Feeling like Vietnam veterans, our healthcare staff are afraid to go into the community after a shift.

Kitty Bobbitt, hospital spokeswoman

Over Labor Day weekend in Colorado, a bystander threw an unidentified liquid at a nurse working at a mobile vaccine clinic in a Denver suburb. He ran over another person in a pickup truck and destroyed signs around the clinic tent.

“It’s just another extra pressure on health workers who are already under a lot of stress,” said Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, where some doctors have received online threats.

Across the United States, the COVID-19 crisis has caused people to behave poorly towards each other in many ways.

Several people have been shot dead in disputes over masks in stores and other public places. Screaming matches and quarrels broke out at school board meetings. A brawl erupted earlier this month at a New York City restaurant over his demand that customers show proof of vaccination.

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

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

“He said, ‘P, no, and I didn’t ask more because I personally don’t want to yell at me,'” Coggins said. Caregivers, doctors, nurses – it’s not always there, and that makes this job way more difficult.”

Coggins said the patient told her he “wanted to strangle President Biden” for his push for vaccinations, which prompted her to change the subject. She said security guards are now responsible for enforcing mask rules on hospital visitors so that nurses no longer have to be the ones asking people to leave.

Hostility makes an already stressful task even more difficult. Many places are experiencing severe staff shortages, in part due to nurses’ fatigue and resignations.

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

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

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