Health Care Workers' Plea: See Us, Hear Us and Support Us — and Get Vaccinated

Danny Navarro, senior construction project manager, is part of a team frequently “scrambling daily to create more patient rooms” in the emergency department, even at 3 a.m. in the morning.

Jorge Garcia, an environmental services team member, remembers a patient crying and calling out that she didn’t want to die.

Carla Sieber, a pulmonary critical care nurse practitioner, regularly comforts patients struggling to breathe.

These are a few of the health care professionals at Tampa General Hospital in Florida who shared their recent experiences on the front lines of COVID-19, part of a powerful three-minute video the hospital shared on its Facebook page in mid-September 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s tremendous toll on health care workers during the past year-and-a-half is evident on their faces and in their voices. At the beginning of the pandemic, “We walked in ready for war. We were the heroes,” says Kim Havers, geriatric emergency department intervention (GEDI) clinician. “And now, who are we?” she asks in the video, expressing dismay that, in some areas, health care workers are ostracized for wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

John Kaplan, a GEDI critical care nurse, admits being “perplexed” about the lack of widespread COVID-19 vaccination utilization and the rampant spread of misinformation that’s “preventing us as a nation, as a state, as a community from progressing and getting past this together.”

Yet the unwavering spirit and compassion of these health care workers shines through. Explains Havers: “We’re the ones … at the end of the day, when you’re scared and you’re tired and you don’t know if you can take another breath — we’re holding your hand, we’re crying with your family, and we are the ones trying to make a difference.”

The video closes with 12 words in bold across the screen: “See them. Hear them. Support them. Do your part. Get vaccinated today.”