This spring, New Jersey emergency room nurse Maritza Benignes saw a “wave after wave” of sick patients, each of whom has become increasingly accustomed to wearing the look of fear for weeks.
Soon after, his colleagues at the Newark University Hospital – nurses, technicians and doctors who had been working alongside him – returned to ER, where they had difficulty breathing. “Many of our own colleagues fell ill, especially in the beginning, which destroyed our employees,” he said.
By the end of June, 11 of Phoenix’s colleagues had died. Like the patients they treated, most were black and Latin.
“Blacks and Latinos in this country are affected proportionately in every part of the country and we are over-affected. [part of] Our life – from schools to jobs to homes, ”he said.
Now Phoenix feels like he has a different kind of lead. On December 14, he became the first person in New Jersey to receive the corona virus vaccine – and was one of the many multidisciplinary medical professionals following the headlines about vaccination in American hospitals.
It was a happy occasion that sparked the opportunity to see his parents and his 96-year-old grandmother, who live in Puerto Rico, again. But those films, which aired nationally, were also a reminder to those who arrived too late for the vaccine.
Covid-19 exaggerated Black and Hispanic Americans. Those imbalances extend to medical staff, who clean their bed sheets, and who hold hands in the final days, a Guardian / Kaiser health news inquiry has found. 65% of deaths in cases with race and ethnic data are of color people.
A recent study To test the positivity of the virus, there are twice as many color health workers as their white counterparts. They are more likely to treat Covid-19 patients, citing the provision of adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) in nursing homes – major corona virus hot beds – the report said.
In a national sample of 100 cases collected by the Guardian / Kaiser Health News, three-quarters of victims were identified as black, Hispanic, or Asian, with one health worker worrying about insufficient BPE before Covid-19 died.
“Black health workers want to go into public care where they know they will treat communities of color proportionately,” said Audia Wingfield, a sociologist at the University of Washington. Researcher on racial inequalities in the health sector. “But they are more likely to adapt to the specific needs and challenges that color communities may have,” he said.
Not only do many black health workers work in less affluent health centers, but they are also more likely to suffer from many of the same diseases found in the general black population, which is a legacy of systemic inequality.
And they may fall victim to a lower quality of care. Dr. Susan Moore, a 52-year-old black pediatrician in Indiana, was hospitalized with Covit-19 in November. Video Posted on his Facebook account, had to ask again and again for tests, remdasevir and pain medications. His white doctor dismissed complaints of his pain, and he was discharged, saying he would be admitted to another hospital 12 hours later.
Many studies show that black Americans often receive worse medical care than their whites: In March, a Boston biotech company published an analysis showing that physicians Less likely Recommend black patients for coronavirus testing when they show signs of disease. Doctors are also less likely Prescribe painkillers For black patients.
“If I were white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” Moore said in a video released from his hospital bed. “This is how black people are killed. When you send them home, they don’t know how to fight for themselves.” His son Henry Mohammed told news agencies that he died on December 20 due to complications of Govt-19.
Along with people of color, immigrant health workers have suffered losses equivalent to Govt-19. More than a third of Govt-19 deaths in the United States were born overseas, from the Philippines to Haiti, Nigeria and Mexico, according to a Guardian / Kaiser Health News analysis. They make up 20% of health workers in the United States as a whole.
Dr. Ramon Tallagh, a physician and chairman of Somos, a non-profit network of health care providers in New York, said that immigrant physicians and nurses often see patients from their own communities – and many working-class, immigrant communities Govt-19.
“Our community is essential workers. At the beginning of the epidemic they had to go to work. If they get sick, they will come and see the doctor in the community,” he said.
Dr. Eriberto Losada was an 83-year-old family physician on Long Island. As cases began to mount in the spring, he was looking after patients from his practice in New York. Originally from the Philippines, a country Long history In sending talented medical workers to the United States, he was proud to be a doctor, and “proud to be an immigrant,” said his son, James Losada.
Losada’s family remembers him as a fierce and strong-willed man – they affectionately called him “King”. He nurtured in his children the importance of a good education. He died in April.
Two of his four sons, John and James Lozada, are physicians. Both were vaccinated this month. John said it was a “bittersweet” occasion, considering all they had experienced. But for another reason – he thought it was important to set a precedent for his patients.
Imbalances in covid infections and mortality induce distrust in the vaccine. Recently Pew study, 42% of black respondents said they would be “certainly or probably” vaccinated compared to 60% of the general population.
This is understandable to Patricia Gardner, a black, Jamaican-born nursing manager born at Jamaican University Medical Center in Hockensack, New Jersey, whose family, colleagues and herself have all been affected. “What I hear is, ‘We didn’t get attention in the first place, but now how do we get vaccinated first?’
Like Phoenix, he was vaccinated on December 14th. I have to move forward to say “I want to be in the first group” – I hope it sends a message, ”he said.
Phoenix, a nurse in Newark, said she felt the weight of that responsibility when she signed up with the first person to receive the vaccine in her state. Many of his patients are skeptical about the vaccine and are fueling it, he said, by a health system that has failed for years.
“We remember the Dusky experiments. The reports at the Georgia Ice Prevention Center that women were forcibly sterilized recall the ‘appendices’.” These are things that happened to black and Latin communities in the last century. As a health worker, I have to recognize that their fears are legitimate and explain ‘this is not the case’.
Phoenix said his joy and relief at getting the vaccine was triggered by the reality of increasing cases in ER. The adrenaline she and her colleagues felt in the spring was gone, and was replaced by months of fatigue and militancy.
His hospital has 11 trees in the lobby, one for every employee who died of Govt-19; They are decorated with souvenirs and gifts from colleagues.
Kim King-Smith, 53, is a friendly EKG technician who visits friends or family whenever he finishes in the hospital.
One to 54-year-old Danilo Polima, a Philippine nurse who became professor and head of patient care services.
Opinna Sibius AK, 42, a Nigerian nursing assistant, was admitted to hospital with Kovit-19 and asked friends and family to pray for her.
“Every day, we remember our fallen colleagues and friends as heroes who helped us continue in this epidemic and beyond,” said Dr. Sheriff Elnahall, the hospital’s president and CEO. “We will never forget their contributions and their collective interest in this community and each other.”
Outside the building, stands the 12th tree. “It will be whoever we lose this battle to,” Phoenix said.