Health care workers on facing misinformation and protesters while fighting COVID-19


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We are more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the doctors and nurses on the front lines are feeling fatigued; health care workers have been through a lot.

“When I see patients in the ICU, and I tell them this is what we need to do to see if we can get your loved one better and hopefully them survive this COVID, and then they sit there and argue with you about treatments that they think that they are beneficial because they’ve read on the internet,” said Dr. Tony Hericks, medical director of Avera McKennan’s intensive care unit. “And then I tell them well, I have several articles that I can show you about evidenced-based medicine why these aren’t helpful, but then you come back and tell me well, seven internet doctors told you that this will work, it’s very frustrating.”

Matt Peterson is a nurse in a pulmonary unit for Sanford Health. Asked how it feels to hear misinformation, he sets the following scene.

“I am working in the COVID unit, I can look out the window, and I see protesters, and I’m sitting here holding oxygen up to someone’s face, and they’re gasping for air, and I can just look out the window and I can see signs that are just falsehoods and don’t make sense,” Peterson said. “And I wish I could go out there and talk to them but it’s not going to change their minds, and that’s very, very frustrating, it’s disheartening, and it wears on all the staff.”

With regard to science, both Hericks and Peterson remind us that not all perspectives enjoy the same expertise.

“All that misinformation that you’re seeing out there on the internet is very concerning because I think instead of listening to those people that are here standing in this, dealing with this every day, you’re more apt to listen to somebody randomly that’s came up with some falsehood,” Hericks said.

In Wednesday night’s Eye on KELOLAND, we’ll bring you additional thoughts from Hericks and Peterson as well as three other health care professionals when we look at fatigue among the people taking care of us during this pandemic.

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