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This is How Things Collapse. Silently.

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Here we stand today in full, but terrifyingly empty hospitals. Full of patients in need, empty from the staff required to take care of them.
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Sobering views in healthcare

Over the past 3 weeks or so we have hunkered down in a similar fashion to the early days of the pandemic and when Delta began to emerge.

But something is different this time. While concerned, life seems to go on, but with a certain cloud overhead. One more worrisome than before.

It’s not that I can’t go to a restaurant or see many of our friends or even family members. It’s not even really staying home most of the time, though with two young kids, I do wish we could get out more.

It’s what’s on the horizon that slowly plods forward to disaster. Not loudly careening like an out of control freight train. But steadily lurching forward.

When we talk about collapse, we always assume some event, then panic, and rubble. A battle. A war. An attack. It is fast and violent and terrifying.

What we face today is not that, it’s eerie in its silence. Frightening and unsettling as a ghost town. You may be able to picture it as if some post-apocalyptic scene. Strangely quite. No one is there, but someone should be there.

Here we stand today in full, but terrifyingly empty hospitals. Full of patients in need, empty from the staff required to take care of them.

It has been two years. The parades have gone. The pizza is not working. Free lunches are no longer sent. No more donations. Just a workforce risking their own health to treat more patients than they are able.

This goes beyond nurses and doctors who are leaving medicine at a record pace. There is no one to take patients to surgery. No one to clean. No one to run labs. To answer the phone. To admit you.

We have come to this slowly over decades. Faster of the last two years, but are at the edge of something truly horrifying. A moment when you call the ambulance and no one comes.

When you arrive at the hospital and no one is there.

When you scream for help and are met with a deafening silence.

This is how things collapse. Silently.

We have taken too much for granted in healthcare. The people who make it work. Not the people billing and administering and shouting and focused on the bottom line at all cost. This is the cost.

There is no healthcare without nurses. None without doctors. None without labs and ambulances and first responders and EVS teams and office staff.

I was with my grandmother at the hospital two days ago. Hours in the ER. People waiting and waiting and waiting. No beds. When she was admitted I walked to her room through empty halls. Quiet halls. There was no one there when her IV alarm went off for hours. No one to take her next door for a procedure.

We have been approaching this moment for a long time. We are here. Will we be able to meet it?

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