The truth is, Ivy originated that response and she doesn’t always get the credit she deserves. Also not getting the credit they deserve are all the other providers who take care of us. This includes physicians, but it also includes pharmacists filling medications and continuing to educate patients, pharmacy techs running prescriptions out for curbside pickup, x-ray techs, respiratory therapists, lab, receptionists, certified nursing assistants and the maintenance staff who keep our health care facilities running and to the janitorial staff who sanitize and clean to keep everyone safe. All of these are essential employees and are required to stay on the job. The World Health Organization proclaimed 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. This was before the pandemic was a pandemic and those nurses and midwives are proving themselves worthy of that recognition. Every single day.
ICYMI: Dr. Arne Vainio (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) was featured by First Lady Michelle Obama @MichelleObama in honor of #WorldHealthDay! @ArneVainioMD @IvyAwan @AAIP1971 @NIHB1 #NativePhysicians #NativeDoctors https://t.co/VePh1ett3M— indianz.com (@indianz) April 9, 2020
As a physician I work with people who went into health care to make the world a better place. They go to work to make sure your children are healthy and safe and they work to make sure a diabetic foot wound doesn’t turn into an amputation. They are integral to delivering babies to end of life care and everything in between. This is a huge responsibility and no one had a pandemic in their future plans when they were graduating. Not one of them thought they would be wearing a surgical mask all day and avoiding eating or drinking so they wouldn’t have to touch their masks and undressing in the garage when they got home to avoid bringing COVID-19 home to their families. There are far too many stories of decisions forced when there are too many critically ill patients and not enough equipment. No one should have to choose who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t, especially in a country as rich as ours. But those decisions happen.
Arne Vainio, MD is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and is a family practice physician on the Fond du Lac reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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