BLOG: A somber Doctors’ Day
Every year, we receive nice “Happy Doctors’ Day” cards from our local hospitals, often with coffee gift cards, shirts or similar nice gifts. I received those for National Doctors’ Day, March 30, which was last week.
With the COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued people around the world, this year’s Doctors’ Day is different.
It is a somber Doctors’ Day.
Last Sunday, the day before this year’s Doctors’ Day, I was in one of the hospitals to consult on a patient with diabetes in the ER. In the Mid-Michigan area, we have not yet seen the pandemic peak, so the hospital was not as busy as what we have heard about from colleagues in sister hospitals in the Detroit area. As a resident of Michigan, it so sad to know that, as of the writing of this post (March 31st), our state is now No. 3 in the nation in the number of COVID-19 cases.
I add my prayers to those said by all people around the world that we will beat this monster bug!
As I was in the hospital, I thought of taking a selfie and sharing it on my Facebook Page, to call upon friends in my network to stay home. I typed a note in English and Arabic. I thought this would be the least I could do as a service to the public.
People around the world are saluting doctors for their sacrifices to save their fellow humans; however, it is not only doctors who are on the frontline now. Many more are paying their dues to society in this fight against the pandemic, each in his or her own role or assignment: nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and nurse aids of all ranks, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab technicians, radiology technicians, clinical support staff, nutritionists, cafeteria chefs and workers, hospital house keepers, health care volunteers, and the essential employees who maintain the hospital’s non-stop, 24-7 functions.
In addition to the above heroes who are putting their lives on the line in the fight of this pandemic, there are many more who deserve recognition for their sacrifices during these difficult times: first responders and EMS personnel, police officers, members of our National Guard and engineer corps, grocery clerks, delivery drivers and janitorial workers.
Certainly, there are so many unsung heroes who work behind the lines to keep society going during these difficult times, all while maintaining social distancing. In other words, this calamity has revealed the best in humanity; everyone working hard with care and compassion to keep society alive and well, whether working at home or from home or in-person, in businesses, departments and institutions all around the country.
From the deepest of my heart, warm salutes to everyone in society!
This is the first time in my lifetime that we have witnessed how people around the world are valuing the role of health care professionals. Perhaps none of us were alive to witness what it was like during the 1918 flu pandemic. There have been some regional epidemics or global pandemics since then, but none has been as close to the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a doctor, it warms my heart to see how people are saluting doctors, health care professionals and workers.
I have watched on the news great gestures of gratitude from various individuals and groups. I have seen musical bands playing concerts to sooth doctors and health care workers, with each band member playing from home; famous singers and musicians singing songs and dedicating them to doctors and health care workers. People passing in the streets salute hospital workers as they pass by!
It is heartwarming and humbling, indeed.
Prior to this unprecedented pandemic, perhaps at one point or another, a physician may have gotten frustrated or disappointed when negative changes in the health care system caused stress, leading to severe physician burnout in some cases and sadly, to physician suicide in rare cases. Yet, with the pandemic, all physicians around the world have come to the realization that going into medical school was the best thing they did in their life. To me, this is a deeply humbling realization.
No matter how somber this year’s Doctors’ Day was, I wish to thank all the people all around the world who have celebrated doctors all around the world on their day.