Our culture is fascinated with superheroes.
That fascination has fueled the success of various superhero feature films produced by cinematic giants like Marvel Studios and DC Comics. These two giants have graced the big screen with major hits such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Captain America, Black Panther, and more recently Eternals. Those superheroes are believed to embody superhuman or godlike strengths that enable them to face danger with bravery and save the day. We look up to them as inspiration because they embody care and compassion for humanity, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Similarly, many medical and reprocessing professionals embody and display many of those qualities which we have come to admire in superheroes. Their heroics are on display daily throughout various departments at medical facilities, such as the Sterile Processing Department (SPD), Outpatient Department (OPD), Intensive Care Units (ICUs), Emergency Room (ERs), Inpatient Service (IP), and others.
I’ll share an example. Excruciating pain in my shoulder blades, neck, and chest sent me rushing to the ER a few weeks ago at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital. The nurses and doctors sprang into action as soon as I arrived and explained my symptoms. They swiftly performed a preliminary examination while assessing the urgency of my condition so they could provide me with requisite and urgent care. By the end of my visit, I felt better and my condition was stabilized. Patients with worse conditions, especially amid the ongoing pandemic, are being stabilized and improved every day by medical and reprocessing professionals across the US and around the world.
The heroes of healthcare
The raging and undeniable COVID-19 pandemic which erupted in the early days of 2020 interrupted our lives and halted routine activities as we once knew them. States were closed off, economies were shut down, quarantining and social distancing measures limited our mobility and human interaction, and infected people were piling up in ICUs. Hospitals were running out of beds, ventilators, and other personal protective equipment. People were advised to stay at home amid conflicting messages regarding the severity of the virus and uncertainty about the success of vaccine research, Sadly, many lives were lost in the process.
However, many more lives were saved due in large part to the selflessness and bravery of medical first responders and professionals who sprang to the frontlines and remain in the trenches. They provided care for those infected, even at the expense of their own lives at times. They are the real-life heroes. In fact, in an interview with The Guardian, chief medical advisor to the president of the United States Dr. Anthony Fauci perceptively stated: “We rightfully refer to these people without hyperbole — that they are true heroes and heroines.” In the same interview, Dr. Fauci described the COVID-related demise of medical professionals as “a reflection of what health care workers have done historically, by putting themselves in harm’s way, by living up to the oath they take when they become physicians and nurses.”
A passion for providing care
Some may say health care workers are getting paid to do what they do and that any potential COVID exposure represents a risk they have accepted willingly and consciously. Be that as it may, their knowledge of related risks and conscious action to go in and heal the sick epitomize courage. Such courage is the quintessential quality and the litmus test of a hero or heroine.
Some people run from risks. They are known as cowards. Others run into risks without consideration of consequences. They are fools. Still, some others thoughtfully face risks with the purpose of transforming them into optimized outcomes—they are courageous. Medical professionals are neither cowards, nor fools. They are courageous and true real-life heroes who care about patient safety and wellbeing.
If you fit the profile of courage described above, be proud and continue to be your best because your work saves lives. Appreciate and celebrate the medical professionals who fit that profile of courage. Finally, if you are on the receiving end of the service and care of medical professionals, be patient with them and have an attitude of gratitude toward them, especially during these holidays and unprecedented hard times.
Thank you to all our reprocessing and medical professionals, we could never do it without you.
With one final acknowledgement, we’d like to share some of the responses we received from our “Attitude for Gratitude” Challenge. We asked reprocessing professionals what they were thankful for working in sterile processing. Here are our responses: