Working in healthcare: Today it's personal


Yesterday the President of the United States accused doctors of lying about cause of death to inflate coronavirus numbers for money. I worked in healthcare before my spinal injury. My husband still works in healthcare. I can tell you right now that we both took this personally. Here's why...

If you have never worked in healthcare you may not know this but there isn't just one person working with a patient, writing in their chart. Each person who works with the patient or resident has to chart their name and what took place. From LNA/CNA's to nurses to doctors. Then you have to remember that there are 3 shifts a day and multiple schedules per week to cover all seven days. When someone dies the RN or MD who declares the death logs it and the person's entire medical record and body goes to the coroner. They use both the body and the chart to write out the cause of death as well as any contributing factors from the entire medical history that may existed. See the problem here? There is no one person who can falsify a death. To pull something like this off you would have to silence everyone from the hospital administrator to the nursing assistants on every shift, on every schedule who worked with a patient who died. The President's statement implies that healthcare workers can be bought and that we would lie about/stay quiet about something like this. That we would try to hurt the public by pretending the virus is more dangerous than it is for money.

Then we get into causes of deaths. Listed on the death certificate are ALL the possible factors that contributed to the death. Not just the direct cause. Here is an example using my grandmother's death. She died of cancer. However the thing that specifically made her heart stop was congestive heart failure brought on by the strain the cancer put on her body. On her certificate it lists: Cancer, congestive heart failure, emphysema, smoking, scarlet fever. If you didn't know her and hadn't been there you might think she spent her life sickly and had scarlet fever when she died! However it wasn't until the cancer that she was anything but strong and healthy. She had scarlet fever as a child and it can sometimes weaken the heart so they added it in. A coroner goes over a patients entire medical record and lists everything in there that they even think could have contributed to their death.

People have been looking at coronavirus death victims and seeing things like cardiac arrest and stroke and come to the wrong conclusion that the "doctor" lied about it being a covid19 death. They didn't. Coronavirus causes tiny blood clots to form in patients that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other organ damage which can lead to death. Pneumonia isn't the only way covid-19 can kill. They didn't just happen to have a heart attack while infected as many people claim. The infection caused a heart attack. We know this by looking at the patient's medical record, the body and the imaging taken of the victim's heart/lungs, etc.

While it's true that mistakes can and have been made, the very fact you ever hear about it proves that it was just that. A mistake. One that was publicly corrected. That wouldn't happen if there was a genuine conspiracy.

The other issue is that it's not just the US that is dealing with this pandemic. If you look at the percentage of patients who die from covid-19 outside the US you find that it matches up. In the US 4% of all cases that have come to a close have ended in death. 96% "recovered." (Please note that long haulers and those with damage to organs are in this category as well. Just because you survive and recover from the infection doesn't mean you are unscathed by it.) Globally 4% of all closed cases have also ended in death as well. That means that for the President's statement to be true that not only would all the healthcare workers in the US are lying, but all the healthcare workers in the WORLD are lying! There is no way to make that happen.

Think about it. Aside from the fact that this is impossible there is no evidence. Ask yourself the basic questions, who, what, when, where, why, and how. There is no evidence that can answer any of those questions regarding this topic. And trying to prove a conspiracy theory with another conspiracy theory doesn't work. There is no reason for anyone to believe that what the President said was true.

The final nail in this theory's coffin is the excess death data from this year and last year. We have had over 300K more deaths this year than in the year prior or the years before that. This tells us that not only are the deaths from coronavirus real, they are most likely under counted. Not over counted.

The reason this is so personal and so upsetting is that when one choses to work in healthcare they don't do it for money. For the most part unless you are an MD with some specialty private practice, the pay sucks! Especially for those who have to do the majority of patient care such as LNA/CNA'S, techs, and nurses. The work is taxing and as I can attest some of the most physically risky jobs you can do. There are more injuries in healthcare than in farming just to give you an idea. So why do we do it? Because we are driven by a deep sense of care and compassion to risk ourselves to serve others. We want to ease pain, heal sick and save lives. NOTHING brings us more joy.

I was the type that when we had a patient dying I always volunteered to stay with them. Even if I had to take double shifts to do it. It's not easy to care for someone who is dying. You are constantly on your feet trying to comfort them and make them more comfortable. It is draining on every level, emotionally and physically. When the patient would finally pass I always did the post mortem care myself. I knew that as long as I did it I could make sure that person's body had been treated with respect. I spoke softly to the person as I cleaned them and got them ready for their family or the coroner. I didn't do it for money. I did it because I love my fellow man and I believe we all deserve a dignified death where we are not alone.

Maybe now you can see why it's so personal to not just me but healthcare workers all across the country. But especially to the people working with covid-19 patients. We are talking ER, ICU, and in patient hospital staff, as well as the EMTs who bring patients and often deceased patients in. It's not glamorous. It doesn't make you rich. It's traumatic, dangerous and emotionally draining in the best of times. Now it is a battleground of blood and pain and death that these workers endure to save and comfort us! They are risking their mental and physical health to do it. No amount of money could make a person do that. Not like this. Not in these conditions. But don't just take my word for it. Here is the testimony of two frontline workers about what it's like working on a covid unit.

I get that people are afraid and that denial is a coping mechanism to deal with threats that your mind may think it can't handle. But I am here to tell you that you don't have to live in fear to face the truth of our situation. You are brave enough to face this. I know you are. All you have to do is accept the situation and then take steps to help solve it. That's it. No terror required. Wear a mask in case you are infected and unaware of it when you go out to protect others. Spend more time at home or out in nature instead of in crowded places to prevent catching and spreading the virus. Make sure you have a few weeks of supplies in case of a lockdown. Wash your hands and disinfect frequently touched objects. That's it. It's not some huge sacrifice and it helps to protect not just you and you neighbor's life, but it also helps save the lives and health of our healthcare workers. As long as we keep spreading this virus they remain at high risk of catching it. Catching it while trying to save OUR lives. So be brave. Drop your denial and take a deep breath. We will get through this together.

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