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Some fear covid-19's emotional trauma will have lasting effects for health-care workers

[Music] for weeks New Yorkers cheered and clapped for the city's health care workers the doctors nurses and the EMTs who have faced down the pandemic are hailed as heroes but many have never felt so afraid life at the end of death hopefully we're all making life at the

end of this will be very very different the good thing is that the team is strong and sticking together and keeping our spirits up but this is going to wear heavily on everybody you know how are our EMTs or paramedics our nurses our doctors our hospital staff you

know the marked technicians the funeral directors we've dealt with so much death more than anybody should ever deal with how are we gonna be after all this you may be working in a situation where your job is to save lives and you fail and fail and fail to

save lives they die in ways that start to wear you down to the point that you don't feel like you're a good doctor or nurse anymore you want to give up on your career you may hit a point of feeling so much grief you're in despair the mental

health experts like Rita Brock have a term for this experience they call it moral injury so when we're in moral distress it means that our whole in relational system and our entire body systems are at risk of breaking down because morality is core to being a human being

so it's a serious affliction it's a deep kind of suffering if you don't address the suffering it can impact people's lives for a very very long time there are certain instances that are traumatic and that will stick with me for the rest of my life and this was

definitely gonna be one of them for cardiologists and Jemma Sethi the hardest part is not knowing how to help his patients the reality is is that there was multiple people that or so critically ill and that no matter what we did we couldn't seem to – – we

couldn't seem to to turn the corner on this virus really is relentless because you'll make modifications to their care and support them and then the next day or a few hours later things are worse again and when patients die they die alone a big part of critical illness

care is interaction with families and now the families were removed from the equation and that was that's really tough you work so hard and you do such amazing work but the outcomes aren't good at all in so many cases and when the threat level is so high but

you have to keep coming and charging in to work every day in fear of what may happen to you or what you may do to your family the that same level of anxiety is just reminds me absolutely of my days on the frontlines of Desert Storm Desert Shield

I feel like I'm absolutely closer to death now than I was even on the frontlines of Desert Storm rocky Walker is a military veteran in a chaplain at Mount Sinai heart hospital we've had several colleagues that have actually passed away from this kovat pandemic they contracted this doing

the very thing that we're doing and and what a terrible sacrifice and this this Kovach pandemic is going to end someday someday soon hopefully and we're going to win but even after we win the ones who've been lost you don't they don't come back and that is that's

just terribly hard even in normal times many health care workers are under enormous strain covet hit we knew that about 40 to 50 percent of health care professionals had substantial symptoms of burnout that they were much more likely to have burnout than other US workers Lodi Derby is

a leading researcher on burnout physicians and in our trainees are sometimes very reluctant to seek care for our emotional or mental health problems because the potential ramifications to medical licensure or ability to get malpractice insurance or short term disability or long term disability in even getting hospital privileges

one of my colleagues said you know there's a morning meeting in her facility and and and there's the morning check and how's everybody doing and everybody says oh we're doing fine but some of them are not doing fine and they don't feel that they can say I'm freaked

out of my mind here about what's going on and I'm so afraid that something's gonna happen to my family because of my professional role there as the first wave of coronavirus cases subsides clinical professor Greg Hendrickson says health care workers need help there's a certain amount of sucking

it up say say saying you know what we got the mission and we're gonna carry it through and that's beautiful and that's what we need and for which and we need to be so grateful to people who are in those circumstances but they also some people also need

a space to privately say this is just all too much I worry that they're gonna be physicians and nurses that don't choose to continue doing clinical medicine after this experience in hospitals around the country doctors and nurses are doing what they can to support each other we're all

actively looking for signs of stress from our co-workers we call it a buddy system here and everybody is looking out for yourself and looking out for the person next to you because people won't always speak up what we don't want is someone to be suffering in silence and

suffering alone that's the last thing that we want

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