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Circle the hospital provides heartwarming sight

Saturday night was a sight to behold. Hundreds of Troup County residents filled the streets and parking lot of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center to thank healthcare professionals for doing their jobs.

In normal times, it might sound silly that hundreds of people showed up to thank someone for simply showing up to work, but we would say these times are anything but ordinary, and doctors and nurses are anything but ordinary too. Government officials have thrown around the term “people on the front line” generously lately, but those employees inside hospitals throughout the country are the ones seeing COVID-19 personally. Many of us only know how this illness impacts people by hearing what others have said or suspected, but these individuals know precisely what it does to a person.

We had reporters on the roof and on the ground, and you could tell how much the gesture meant to the hospital staff. And the hospital staff got in the act too, holding up signs saying thank you and waving to community members, showing appreciation for their support.

Imagine that. The people truly on the front lines are thanking everyone else for just being there and saying thank you.

Doctors, nurses, administrative employees, everyone who steps foot inside a hospital, has an increased chance of infection. They know it’s their job to care for those people, but that doesn’t mean it’s not weighing on the back on their minds.

One doctor told us that it’s always there, but he has to put it to the side. Otherwise, he couldn’t do his job, which is to care for the patient.

It’s easy to think about the doctors when acknowledging hospital staff, but we also want to thank all of our nurses in Troup County. Often, these employees do the brunt work and spend the most time working with the patients. Many times, they do it for 12-14 hours a day, often more, and usually don’t get the credit doctors get when a patient goes home healthy.

Those nurses are typically the lynchpin between doctor and patients and administer the doctor’s care plan for that patient. Many times, with an illness like COVID-19, there is an element in time when they don’t know if a patient has the illness or not, as it takes several days to get test results back.

We also understand that these times must be difficult for healthcare professionals and their families. While most of us are self-isolating, we don’t think twice before hugging our kids, spouse or partner.

However, if you’ve been working in a hospital all day, even if you wear the correct preventive protection equipment or douse yourself with hand sanitizer, we’d imagine you can never feel doubt-free going home.

Healthcare officials appreciated the community gesture. In the words of WGMC’s President Coleman Foss, “To have the community show the level of support that they did and the magnitude of which that support was — it was really heart-rendering for so many staff members.”

Let’s continue to support our healthcare officials and let them know how important their work is to all of us.