Support Local Journalism


Subscribe


Of all the disheartening news on the COVID-19 pandemic of late, some of the most disturbing concerns the abuse of health care workers by patients and their families.

According to a Kaiser Health News report published in the Sept. 22 Chronicle, there have been screaming, foul-mouthed tirades and threats that prompted calls to the police at the Billings Clinic. A patient even threw his own feces at a doctor.

Nurses in Livingston and Bozeman report similar episodes.

“Patients and visitors yelling and screaming or complaining on social (media) is not appropriate or helpful and could further damage the workforce we most desperately need,” Kallie Kujawa, Bozeman Health’s COVID-19 incident command lead, said at a recent press conference.

Why is this happening? Because largely unvaccinated patients are buying into thoroughly debunked — even dangerous — garbage cures they find on the internet, demanding them in hospitals and are furious when they are denied.

When history looks back on this, these episodes will likely be the lowest of many low points of this pandemic. The point at which patients bought into some witches’ brew of internet tripe and turned on the people who — at great personal sacrifice — were trying to save their lives.

All this has certainly contributed to overworked health care workers facing burnout and dropping out of the profession. There are severe staff shortages locally and around the state and nation. And who can blame them if they are getting the kind of treatment they’ve been reporting?

Remember when social media didn’t exist? When your parents and grandparents trusted what their doctors told them? When they got you vaccinations required by the schools you attended? Those were the days when we defeated polio and whooping cough with vaccines, instead of demanding our right to blissfully stand by while the virus spreads and fellow community members die by the dozens.

We can choose to embrace that trust again.

Get informed the right way. Read about and hear the dire stories from the front lines of the pandemic and learn how they are so preventable. Trust your own health care provider. Ninety-six percent of doctors are fully vaccinated, according to the American Medical Association. And, fortunately, the vaccine-hesitant and COVID deniers are a minority. Seventy-seven percent of eligible American adults have received at least one dose of vaccine. But the stubborn minority is stopping us from beating this thing.

Let’s all get smart. Get the shots. Encourage everyone you know to do the same.

And for God’s sake, treat the people who are in the trenches in this war with respect and civility.


Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Charles Rinker, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, either leave a comment on the page below or write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.


Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.