“Street Medics” Fight COVID and Police Brutality

June 12, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Volunteer

Last modified June 15, 2020

An article by Kaiser Health News explains how volunteer medical teams are taking the streets to fight both COVID-19 and police brutality.

Known as “street medics,” these unorthodox teams of nursing students, veterinarians, doctors, trauma surgeons, security guards, ski patrollers, nurses, wilderness EMTs and off-the-clock ambulance workers are plunging themselves into street protests over the past weeks to help the injured — sometimes rushing to the front lines as soon as their hospital shifts end. They are pouring water — not milk — into the eyes of tear-gassed protesters. They stanch bleeding wounds and pluck disoriented teenagers from clouds of gas, entering dangerous corners where on-duty emergency health responders may fear to go.

Many are medical professionals who see parallels between the front lines of COVID-19, where they confront stark racial imbalances among those stricken by the coronavirus, and what they see as racialized police brutality. Most are coming right off of a full shift and immediately helping in the streets. “It’s hard, but bills need to be paid and justice needs to be served,” said nursing assistant Iris Butler.

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