‘Still scared’: Health Workers Feel the Toll of the Pandemic Fight

June 19, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Engagement & Morale, Health and Wellness

Last modified June 22, 2020

Healthcare workers have been cheered as heroes in the virus crisis, and some have found the challenge and teamwork deeply meaningful. But the work also has been exhausting and traumatic, even for people accustomed to a life-and-death job. In this article, Modern Healthcare interviews doctors in New York, still grappling with the disturbance the coronavirus brought to their hospitals.

“I am still scared,” Dr. Gwen Hooley told her colleagues at Elmhurst Hospital, which was swamped with patients in late March as the virus rampaged through New York. “I feel like it’s a calm before a second storm.”

While the global pandemic hasn’t abated, the days when gasping patients arrived at Elmhurst nonstop, when ventilators ran low and deaths so high that a refrigerated morgue truck was stationed outside, have subsided. Not necessarily the pain. There is concern that some who cared for COVID-19 patients may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a longer-term and more disruptive condition.

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