Health care workers are heroes

Published 6:59 pm Monday, August 31, 2020

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I have always felt uncomfortable in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and around anyone in a white coat who opens the door while I am waiting as a patient.

My doctor finds this to be humorous. He feels the same way when he walks into a courtroom. But, consider how lucky we are to be surrounded by people with different gifts and talents from God.

I shudder to think of a world where everyone wanted to be a lawyer…

Since the beginning of time, men have been at war, plagues have sickened and killed millions of people, and natural disasters have ravaged a large part of the globe.

Before March 2020, I only focused on the bravery of soldiers, the level of talent that each general possessed, and the actions of the political leaders as crisis enveloped their nations.

Something has changed. 

2020 has been a year of extraordinary volatility. However, there is one critical shift in thinking about the definition of a hero that has shed light on an undeniable truth.

While brave soldiers have fought and died on battlefields from Chickamauga, Georgia to the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, it is easy to forget the men and women who shared the battlefield with those soldiers when they served as medics, like Ernest Hemingway, and nurses, pulled dying men into shelters, administered the most critical of medical care, and gently shut their eyelids after they gave their life.

As a boy, I was positively influenced by Doctors Tom and Brenda Fitzgerald, Ralph Fleck, Charlie Hubbard, and many more.  I looked up to them.  But, I did not understand the level of dedication and passion for healthcare that they, and others, have. 

My worldview has changed. Thinking about the west Georgia medical community, which is the best in the state, the people I mentioned above, the fact that most of the stronger women in my family have always been nurses, volunteered at Tanner Medical Center, or were heavily involved in the medical field reminds me of something. 

Today, it is not the star athlete, brilliant military commander, successful business person, talented politician, nor the attorney who never loses a case who we should have the greatest respect and admiration for.

Our greatest heroes are the brave health care warriors on the front line who are fiercely waging war on Covid-19. I am proud to say that my mother, sisters, and other family members possess the type of courage that propels them to battle a virus that is both extremely dangerous and an surrounded by uncertainty.

They are among the millions of selfless warriors who are focused on one goal; defeating Covid-19.

Displays of courage by our health care warriors are the most inspiring things to watch. This is particularly true in a world where cowardice is not only acceptable, but oftentimes is the norm.

While doctors and nurses receive the lion’s share of public recognition of their life-saving role in this war, they actually represent less than 20% of all essential health care warriors.

Nearly seven million essential workers are employed on the COVID-19 front lines, including:

  • Heath care support workers such as orderlies and phlebotomists;
  • Direct care workers such as home health and personal care aides; and
  • Health care service workers such as housekeepers and cooks.

The vast majority of these warriors do not serve because of money or recognition. They serve because they were born with the natural desire to help other people and their community.

While there is a vast amount of uncertainty and fear associated with this virus, I am it peace. This peace is the result of knowing that an army consisting of millions of highly trained and fearless warriors wake up every day with the primary goal of defeating an adversary that is weakening every day.

I ask you to join me in a simple, yet important task. The next time that we see a health care warrior, let’s approach them and thank them from the bottom of our heart.