My son is a doctor — I’m worried and angry
We know the consequences for the healthcare professionals who are sick and dying on our frontlines. What are the consequences for those who betrayed them?
My son is a doctor, and I’m angry and worried. I’ll call him “Josh” for a semblance of privacy. Josh is less than 90 days into his new job as a family physician in a relatively small east coast community where nearly two dozen are today hospitalized with COVID-19 and several have died.
With his completion of residency, medical school, and state licensing this summer, I thought the hard part was behind him.
There was a frightening moment when he volunteered for a medical mission to Central America and found himself caught between government and militia forces. That passed, he returned home safely, and the future looked much better than the past.
The past wasn’t easy. Medical school is difficult. It seems designed to make people quit. Josh didn’t.
I didn’t know how he’d continue through his mom’s tragic death. I couldn’t have. Josh did.
I didn’t know how he’d focus on residency during the months of my chemo, radiation, and a year of recovery.
Josh soldiered on, expressed, and also I’m sure buried some grief, and looked forward to practicing medicine from his commitment to humanity, whole health, and many other values that make him a terrific family physician.
He could have gone to medical school for free if he’d done so with a promise to a few years of military service. He considered the option. More than half a million dollars in debt is not something anyone takes on without looking at all the options.
He wanted to be a physician, not a warrior.
In the face of a novel coronavirus, it’s not working out that way.
Today, Josh is a warrior — not by choice, but with all the courage, compassion, and dedication that inspired his pursuit of medicine.
Our sons and daughters who became healthcare professionals have become today’s warriors. The actual warriors are locked down in secure bases throughout the world. We invest billions to keep them safe so they can keep the rest of us safe.
Josh’s enemy is invisible, and everywhere. What did our leaders invest to keep them safe?
Our children who became healthcare professionals deserve the same level of protection we give Soldiers on the frontlines.
That hasn’t been happening.
Doctors and nurses are getting infected by the coronavirus and dying every day, not because they have to, but because those responsible for their safety lost months making sure our frontline responders had the masks, gowns, and other basic supplies that can mean life or death. Today, those people make heads spin with double-speak justifications for allowing the life-saving supplies needed for our doctors and nurses to be shipped overseas.
I would have mortgaged our home if I thought I needed to for Josh to be safe helping keep other people alive. I didn’t have that chance. And it wouldn’t have been necessary, because the protective supplies they’ve needed aren’t expensive. As our President, many governors, and federal healthcare leaders insisted after news broke of the Wuhan outbreaks in December and January that they had this under control, they didn’t.
So Josh and others have been wearing masks that don’t fit when they have them at all. And they’ve been missing a lot of other basic supplies that a day of federal planning and a millisecond worth of the federal budget could have ensured before America erupted in a long expected war.
When I read about Senators who knew this was coming months ago and instead of warning, planning, and leading, they sold stock portfolios, I’m beyond outraged.
My son is a doctor, and I’m angry and worried because the leadership we entrusted with their most sacred role have let him and millions of others down.
We know what the consequences have been for doctors and nurses who are sick and dying on our frontlines. What are the consequences for those who betrayed them?