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The difference between medicine and poison

  • Published at 08:18 pm April 27th, 2020
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During the pandemic, medical workers deserve all our support, not cynical scrutiny

Medicine is the only profession that works towards its own obsolescence; there is no kinder sentiment a doctor can express than he or she genuinely never wanting to see you again. 

The pandemic is the new normal, the entire species is at war and the entire world is the battlefield. Our doctors, nurses, EMTs, and assorted health care workers are the literal definition of “essential workers” during times like these. If the war analogy stands, these individuals are the front-line, and with time, when the numbers are reported, we will see that they are the ones who have suffered and lost the most. 

They are the experts and they know just as much as we do when it comes to Covid-19. Not only do they bear the burden of our fragile lives, they also bear our hopes and expectations for a return to a habitable world. Any average person would buckle under the weight -- I certainly know that I would.

Given the circumstances, it is not completely surprising that a lot of the internet’s attention is focused on the medical community. What is surprising, is the amount of cynical scrutiny they are coming under. 

American protests about health care workers being “crisis actors,” radical religious ideologues spewing their benign and polarizing maxims. Every Tom, Dick, and Sally bloviating about conspiracies and hoaxes perpetrated by mass media institutions; people calling health care workers disrespectful names and cyber-bullying them for engaging in the same social media shenanigans that we all do on a daily basis. This is high-school behaviour, plain and simple. 

Just because medical workers are held to a higher standard does not disqualify them from being human and wanting to have fun, no matter how dire and morbid their daily environs might be. 

Medical workers are pulling longer shifts than ever before, only to go back to the comfort of their homes and not be able to coddle their own child in their arms because of their occupational hazards. Medical workers are duty bound to protect you from disease and death. Now they are doing overtime, protecting you from yourselves, counter-protesting the fringes of our society that equate having an opinion with having a point. 

The anti-vax movement was a funny joke that has now become a societal danger that is directly affecting medical professionals, our front line and our greatest defense against the pandemic. 

The tiniest thing we can do is to keep our social media feeds clean of misinformation and educate those who are most gullible. We must not bully them back or shout them down, we must disprove them with polite rationale and considered questioning of their viewpoints.

We as a society must police ourselves and help our medical professionals do their jobs. We are honour-bound to help so they can be more effective and hassle-free when they go about their duties.

No one checks up on doctors. Even you, who probably know medical professionals via six degrees of separation, only reach out to them when you need advice and/or are scared. Most of the time they oblige in a good-natured manner. 

Think how annoyed you must get when someone messes up their computer or smartphone and tries to dump it on you as a catch-all solution. This is how a doctor feels all the time, multiplied exponentially. 

It is absolutely imperative for us to reach out to our compatriots and make sure they are doing fine mentally, so they can be effective physically. 

If you know a doctor or a nurse, call them, ask them how they are, thank them, don’t talk to them about their work, they have enough of that already. Bring some levity into their life. Be kind. 

The fact that our doctors and nurses can have a sense of humour in these trying times is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. I will take a smiling doctor over a sombre one any day of the week.

Compassion is a given that every human being on this earth deserves. Respect however, must be earned. In this holy month, remember to take care of your fellow man. Up until we leave this plane of existence, all we have, is each other.

Remember: “Estimable people do estimable things.” 

Zawad Saif is a writer and aspiring novelist.