Valley health care worker says COVID’s physical, emotional, and psychological toll will last a lifetime on health care staff “because of disinformation and refusals by the unvaccinated”

Some hospitals are issuing “panic” buttons to hospital staff due to the growing assaults against them by patients or family members


Michael Rhode

Health care professionals across the United States were celebrated in the COVID-19 pandemic’s early days, but growing frustration among the unvaccinated and those sickened with the Delta variant has seen the tide turn against these workers.

One Valley health care worker spoke to Northeast Valley News on the condition of anonymity in order to describe the conditions nurses and physicians have been subjected to “because of disinformation and the refusals by the unvaccinated” that have led to some of the most severe COVID-19 cases seen in intensive care. 

“It’s been—well, it continues to be—a physical, emotional, and psychological toll, and one that will likely last for a lifetime,” said a health care professional who is responsible for patient care in some of the most urgent COVID cases. “And many of these cases did not have to happen.

“We have to witness patients dying and families pleading to help them stay alive,” the health care professional continued. “We have to deny families visitation because of COVID restrictions. We are trying our best to do just that—keep their loved ones alive.” 

The health care worker also admitted to Northeast Valley News that they had a particular resentment for conspiracy theories from individuals who have led patients to believe through “blatant disinformation” that they should not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Many of these patients and their families listened to this stuff—followed the advice and refused to get vaccinated—and in some cases, it became too late to change course,” the health care worker explained.

Patient family members and even patients themselves have threatened or harassed health care staff in hospitals across the United States. Due to this phenomenon, some hospitals have resorted to providing “panic” buttons as assaults on workers increased. These call buttons are issued so that nurses and other staff no longer need to rely on crying out for help in the instance of a patient or patient family member assault.

Robert Mendoza is a nurse for a Valley hospital and has seen firsthand the kind of “nutty” threats that have been hurled at hospital staff.

“We receive briefings about security measures on a regular basis since personal threats against hospital staff (have) been growing,” Mendoza said.

In one Missouri hospital, patients unhappy about visiting restrictions or long wait times have driven worsening attacks on nurses over the past several months, leading to the introduction of panic buttons at the facility.