“‘I Can’t Turn My Brain Off’: PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers”

Before Covid-19, health care workers were already vulnerable to depression and suicide. Mental health experts now fear even more will be prone to trauma-related disorders.

The coronavirus patient, a 75-year-old man, was dying. No family member was allowed in the room with him, only a young nurse.

…she held an iPad close to him, so he could see the face and hear the voice of a grief-stricken relative Skyping from the hospital corridor. After the man died, the nurse found a secluded hallway, and wept.

A few days later, she shared her anguish in a private Facebook message to Dr. Heather Farley, who directs a comprehensive staff-support program at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. “I’m not the kind of nurse that can act like I’m fine and that something sad didn’t just happen,” she wrote.

Medical workers like the young nurse have been celebrated as heroes for their commitment to treating desperately ill coronavirus patients. But the heroes are hurting, badly. Even as applause to honor them swells nightly from city windows, and cookies and thank-you notes arrive at hospitals, the doctors, nurses and emergency responders on the front lines of a pandemic they cannot control are battling a crushing sense of inadequacy and anxiety.”

Read more at nytimes.com
Photo: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

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