When Salem Hospital healthcare workers are feeling stressed, the hospital's wellness department usually recommends yoga or deep breathing. But a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, with a new surge of hospitalizations driven by people who refuse to utilize the freely available vaccine underway, healthcare workers are beyond stressed. They're wiped out, cried out, and burnt out—and yoga and deep breaths just aren't cutting it anymore.
To give employees an outlet for their frustrations, Salem Hospital set up a "rage room" area where workers can take out their anger by throwing dinner plates at a wall.
A Salem Hospital nurse named Lisa told AP News that she and her colleagues had hoped this Delta wave wouldn't hit, but it has. "And it's harder and worse, way worse, than before," she said. Right now they have 15 patients on ventilators and people dying in the ICU.
She said she has made ample use of the plate-smashing booth.
"We put on safety glasses, and we took plates and we shattered them. And I kept going back. I kept going back, and they told me I had enough turns."
That's right. Our healthcare workers are resorting to smashing plates in a rage room because people's refusal to get vaccinated is making work hell for them. Throwing a plate at a wall is a far better option than throwing a bedpan at a patient, and controlled acts of destruction may prevent a doctor or nurse at their wit's end from taking out their anger and exhaustion in an unhealthy way. But seriously? This is what we've come to?
Get it together, America. We're in a global freaking pandemic and we have a readily available vaccine that is very effective at keeping people out of the hospital. This really isn't complicated.
This new wave of hospitalizations is even happening in Oregon, which has fared comparatively well in the pandemic thus far. Implementing some of the strictest mitigation measures in the nation has resulted in some of the lowest COVID rates in the nation, and vaccination rates overall there are high. But those high rates are a bit skewed by certain counties. Some Oregon counties are still barely pushing 50% fully vaccinated, and combined with low levels of immunity from previous COVID infections (the ironic downside of having managed the pandemic well so far) the Delta surge is filling up hospitals. Since Oregon and Washington tie for the lowest numbers of hospital beds per capita in the U.S., there's not a ton of wiggle room for a wave of hospitalizations.
Things are even worse for healthcare workers in states with lower vaccination rates. Hospitals are full and they're filling up with patients younger and healthier than in previous waves. As Charles Fox, MD, chief medical officer for Ochsner/LSU Health System of North Louisiana says, "The new risk factor is, 'I'm not vaccinated.'"
Remember when we all rallied behind our healthcare heroes when we didn't know how to help them? Now we know how to help them.
Remaining unvaccinated may be a "personal choice," but it's one that affects everyone around you. You are more likely to get COVID, which means you're more likely to spread it and keep the pandemic raging. If you do get COVID, you're more likely to be hospitalized, which puts a strain on hospitals and healthcare workers. And when hospitals fill up with COVID patients, that prevents people with other urgent medical care needs from getting help, so your choice impacts them, too.
We have full hospitals and healthcare heroes throwing plates at walls, folks. Give them a break and get vaccinated.
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