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Health care workers deserve respect

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To the editor: I was dismayed to see Friday’s (Sept. 24, 2021) headline, “Health Care Workers: Harassed, Threatened, Spat On.”

Attacking the messenger is a cheap, immature response to unwanted news. It shows fear, stress and a lack of integrity in the moment.

I sincerely hope these are rare events. The nurses, doctors and support staff at the hospital are overloaded, exhausted and experiencing the trauma of a stream of Covid patients, some of whom die a particularly difficult death. A friend of mine is a nurse in the hospital and she reports that the most common question by new Covid patients is, “Is it too late to get vaccinated?” Hospital staff are responding to the needs of their patients and the community. Be kind to them. They deserve our respect and gratitude.

In response to the crisis at the hospital, a letter in Monday’s paper proposed that vaccinated patients receive priority. That, thankfully, is not how the health care system works. They help sick and injured people, even when they’ve brought the condition onto themselves. People who ignore cigarette warnings are still treated for emphysema. People who know they need a healthier diet and more exercise are still treated for heart disease. People who choose not to wear helmets are treated for TBI.

What I find so maddening about this surge is that prevention requires so little effort. You don’t have to fight an addiction, change your lifestyle or abandon an activity. All it takes is one little shot.

That said, if you suddenly find you can’t breathe, have chills and a splitting headache, by all means, go to the hospital! Vaccinated or not, they’ll help you.

But if you’ve decided, in advance, that Covid is a hoax and that you’ll reject your doctor’s diagnosis, or if you plan to threaten or spit at your nurse if he or she asks if you’ve been vaccinated, just stay home. The hospital already has enough to deal with.

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