Unparalleled sacrifice by medical community during pandemic has not resulted in any enhancement of respect or prestige to the medical profession. It was not enough to stop physical or verbal assaults, legal or financial exploitation. It was sufficient to alter the course of oppression by administrators or moral blackmail by society.
Sadly it is getting more worse. Doctors and nurse have been reduced to sacrificial lambs, that are easily slayed, when administrators tend to put themselves on high moral pedestals.
Financial and legal complexities have been the major side effects of modern medicine, especially for doctors. They are facing complex environment, which are beyond their control. Besides financial and legal complexities, moral dilemmas, facing verbal and physical assaults are creating complex working conditions. Criticized by administrators despite their sacrifice, media insults are adding to their disillusionment and possibly a withdrawal response.
Arm chair preachers would just say “yes, as a doctor, they should do it as moral duty.”
Media and celebrities usually have proudly projected on screen and television that it is right to be disrespectful towards doctors. They have made it appear correct to masses to be disrespectful to doctors. But such news is viewed by medical community anxiously and is definitely a poor advertisement for younger generation to take medicine as profession.
As incidents are widely publicized and masses following their “Reel Heroes” and celebrities to insult medical profession.
Disrespect and media insult by celebrities towards a profession as a normal routine and perceived as an easily do-able adventure to gather populism.
On the night of October 24th, President Trump addressed his supporters at a Wisconsin rally, located just minutes from a temporary COVID-19 field hospital, making the argument that doctors at the pandemic’s front lines are falsely capturing COVID-19 cases in order to profit from the pandemic. Undermining his own scientific experts was not enough to dispute the severity of the crisis. Now, he desperately suggests — “I don’t know, some people say…” — that America’s most trusted professionals are fabricating the rising coronavirus case numbers of the current “third spike” for personal financial gain.
Trump’s wrong insinuations
As doctors we are outraged by Trump’s gutless insinuations. We’re not alone. The American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, leveraging the voices of over 800,000 American physicians, have each castigated Trump for his callous allegations.
The mere implication that health care professionals would be incentivized by profit to alter the true rate of this public health pandemic is reprehensible. Here’s why:
We struggle to contain the losses — and we continue to lose our own. For months, we have worked tirelessly to contain the spread of COVID-19. As we approach a quarter of a million deaths nationwide, we cannot forget the 1,700 of our own health care colleagues among that number. We are the teams that care for everyone, day and night, as we risk our own lives for the benefit of our communities. Unsurprisingly, we are burnt out. These last seven months have been a marathon in resilience, frustration, and fear.
Here’s the truth: We label patients with COVID-19 because accurate identification of this disease is essential so we can track cases to take the quick action necessary to prevent further spread. If a patient has a history of heart disease or other medical problems, and dies in the hospital with COVID-19, we know that coronavirus exacerbated that underlying condition — and their demise. It is accurate and in line with public health principles to list it as a cause of death.
We face historic furloughs, layoffs and pay cuts.
Here’s what’s worse: the assertions that doctors are profiting off of the pandemic are completely baseless and could not be further from the truth. Physician practices are not immune to the economic losses Americans are experiencing. One in five American physicians, whether salaried or in independent practice, have experienced pay cuts during the pandemic. Hospitals and physician practices have had to implement furloughs and layoffs to stay afloat, including furloughs at 35% of all primary care offices. More than 16,000 — or 9% — of independent physician practices have had to close entirely.
More recent estimates suggest that hospitals, thanks to the loss of elective surgeries during pandemic spikes, will face over $300 billion in lost revenue this year alone. And this is all happening while physicians report working more hours this year — amid more uncertainty about the future of their profession.
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We still work in unsafe conditions, without the equipment needed to protect us — and you. In the spring, the images were indelible: N95 masks being reused for days on end, while nurses were covered in trash bags as a proxy for PPE. Across the country, hospitals, clinics and state agencies bid against each other for what few PPE supplies existed. All the while, President Trump accused health care workers of hoarding PPE and other medical equipment. He blamed health care workers for shortages across the nation, when the root cause of that unfolding tragedy was his administration’s unwillingness to enact a national and comprehensive strategy.
Fast forward to today, where many healthcare workers still do not have adequate PPE and continue to reuse masks, gowns and gloves meant for one-time use. This could have been easily addressed by now, had President Trump fully activated the Defense Production Act to speed up and nationalize PPE production, a request he consistently refused.
The long road of COVID ahead
We see no end in sight. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows made it clear: the Trump administration has given up trying to control this pandemic. While they wave the white flag in hopes of therapeutics and vaccines becoming available in sufficient quantities for all Americans, hundreds of thousands more are projected to die.
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The new “medical swamp” narrative emerging from the White House, while deeply disturbing, is not out of character for this administration. Since the first U.S. coronavirus case was reported in January 2020, the president has undermined his own health experts and denied the scientific evidence at every turn.
The coming weeks and months will be dark as we continue to experience the repercussions of Trump’s callous inaction, but you have the ability to shape how this story ends. We urge all Americans to elect leadership that is morally responsible, unwilling to allow the political manipulation of science. The lives of the American people depend on it.
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