image description

WCBC Persons of the Year: Front Line Medical Professionals

January 5th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

A year ago, we all valued the people who took care of us when we got sick. Our benefit was readily apparent. They made us feel better. We assumed that their job also provided them with the satisfaction of doing that.
Although each case is different, their jobs were also fairly predictable. They were dealing with illnesses and surgeries for which they trained. Fast forward only a few months into 2020, and everything changed with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March, there was fear that the onslaught would come about so quickly that medical facilities would be overrun. When most of the early cases affected metro areas of the state, would those hospitals fill up and would we catch the overflow? There was a sigh of relief when that didn't happen, and when local daily cases remained low, our professionals remained at the ready, keeping up with CDC guidelines and internal guidance.
In the nursing homes, we had one major outbreak early, and others scrambled to do everything they could to keep Coronavirus out of their facilities. Imagine going to work every day, and in many cases, not knowing if you had been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and that you may be taking the virus to work with you, despite all of your best efforts not to?
Throughout the year, visitation to long term care was restricted. Not only did those employees have to tend to medical needs, they also had to provide emotional support. They became the human touch and extention of frustrated family members who were barred from visiting.
Life also changed for first responders in our area. They have always been a caring bunch, but they had to be careful in providing that care. It became a continuing routine to wash up, sterilize, mask up, remain socially distant. Plus, if you wanted to keep working, you had to stay eligible…meaning that you had to wonder about what friends that you may have been around that could infect you. And that means, when the shift was over, you were still mentally weighing your surroundings. No vacation. No break.
Over 150 lives have been lost during the pandemic, and in addition to grieving family members, there are medical professionals who felt the sting of those deaths, too. With every loss, there is heartbreak. It's not like there wasn't heartbreak before, it just arrives more frequently now.
In honor of those who serve on the medical front lines, WCBC is proud to salute them as our Persons of the Year.