Blame Anti-Vaxxers: ‘It’s a war zone’: healthcare workers show signs of stress similar to combat veterans

After nearly two years of caring for Covid patients, many providers are leaving the field amid hospital staffing shortages


Every day that Kadee Klafka works as a cardiac intensive care nurse at Ball Memorial hospital in Muncie, Indiana, she speaks with the families of Covid patients on ventilators, almost all of whom have not been vaccinated, she said. She often must inform them that their loved ones’ lungs won’t recover.

Guardian: Almost two years after working in a temporary Covid intensive care unit at the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Kim Bishop, a critical care nurse, can still remember which patients were in which rooms.

“When you walk back on these units, you know which patient survived in which room and which ones didn’t,” said Bishop, who still works at the Philadelphia hospital and moves among different units. “I thought we closed that chapter once we closed that unit, but now walking back into it, it’s almost like a slap in the face.”

Bishop’s feelings are not unique among providers who treat Covid patients in the US. Many are leaving the field.

Recent research indicates that healthcare workers and first responders are displaying post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms like veterans who served in combat.

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Healthcare providers and researchers now say that if hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with patients who have not been vaccinated against the virus and administrators don’t find a way to provide relief to medical staff, many will leave areas where they care for Covid patients – or exit healthcare altogether. That would worsen staffing shortages and further strain hospitals’ capacity to provide necessary care.

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