I have finally had enough. As a health care provider, COVID-19 brought about a lot of uncertainty and many changes in preparation for what might unfold. But over the last few months, the social unrest surrounding police brutality and the disproportionate occurrence of these cases towards people of color has added to my physical exhaustion by conflating it with both emotional and mental fatigue. After 32 years of tolerating systemic racism, it is finally my turn to say something.
When do you leap into the unknown and venture into the uncomfortable? Is it after methodical deliberation or is it much more abrupt, emboldened by a critical decision? Perhaps it is a deep drive within you, one that propels you forward in a way in which you cannot look back.
Earlier in February of this year, before COVID-19’s onslaught in London, UK, I was covering service on a respiratory ward when a young medical student made herself known to the physician’s office. “Could I borrow your stethoscope? I’m here to practice my respiratory examinations.”
I first met Ruth in the emergency department when I was a third-year medical student on my psychiatry rotation. She was an “elderly female with psychosis — medical workup negative.” My resident had received a page with a request for her admission and sent me to the ED to speak with her first.
Take a female physician — a doctorate of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) — dress her up in hot pink scrubs, give her Medical Terminology for Dummies, and have her read it upside down. What do you have? The answer is an advertisement for Figs Scrubs (@wearfigs).
“You could help us with our diversity efforts. If you came here, you could be a part of building up our diversity program.” Who said I wanted to help with your diversity efforts? Why hasn’t it been built up already?
My husband was a 53-year-old man who worked full-time as a mental health aide. He was a hardworking man, with shifts from 3:30pm to 12am, and was very dedicated to his patients. He was on the frontline caring for COVID-19 patients. I work as a nurse at the same hospital during the day shift.
I am a 25-year-old resident physician of anesthesiology /
My sister and I are bonded by genetics, anatomy and biology /
I am a senior in high school at age 18. / My sister and I are bonded by love and everything in between.
For the first time in history, a pandemic has shut down the entire globe. COVID-19 has affected our lives in many ways, including significantly impacting health care services. Many people, sensing an unseen danger looming in the air, have become increasingly afraid to visit their primary care physicians, and we are now discovering the catastrophic consequences of this delay.
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretched into the late spring months, the ACGME made the recommendation to hold all residency and fellowship recruitment for the 2021 Match cycle virtually. At University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, preparations began.
In the pandemic’s wake, we witnessed the explosion of viral social media content such as Plandemic, an alternate exaggerated narrative which sought to perpetuate the types of claims one would expect from the title. These kinds of conspiracy theories have always existed in many different shapes and forms; however, COVID-19 struck at a time when society was suffering from a pre-existing condition of deep mistrust.
Recent events have highlighted a systemic problem within our world, our country, our state, and our community. People of color fight an uphill battle in every facet of life, at every socioeconomic level. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception — as we all know by now, patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are disproportionately afflicted. But the spotlight has refocused on a chronic pandemic: systemic racism.