A Greek-born doctor who works in an emergency room in the US and deals with patients who refuse vaccinations spoke about his experience.
Dr. “Krok” (short for the word crocodile, nicknamed because of his cold heart, according to the doctor himself) shares the experience of the daily battles with COVID of the personnel of the San Francisco medical battalion.
The introduction of mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers in California in September resulted in 95% of workers in the sector receiving the vaccine, with the state being the first to require a third dose of the vaccine for 2 million healthcare workers.
Dr. Kroc, 55, an emergency room physician at a major Northern California hospital, deals daily with patients who have refused vaccinations. A 60-year-old patient hospitalized with severe shortness of breath whispers that she was not vaccinated because she was “too lazy”, the Economist reports in her article.
The Greek-born doctor “Dr. Kroc”, who chose to speak about his experience to a British magazine while remaining anonymous, works at two major hospitals in the San Francisco area. One is located in an area with a large percentage of migrant land workers, many of whom do not have residence permits, but with a significant number of educated, progressive young people. More than 75% of the county’s residents are vaccinated, higher than the state average.
The second hospital he works at is located in the Central Valley region, a stronghold of Donald Trump’s voters, where vaccination rates are well below the California average. ‘Doctor Croc’ asks a 60-year-old woman if she has had cases of coronavirus at home. And as it turns out, her 40-year-old son is being treated in the intensive care unit of the same hospital.
39-year-old male, anti-vaxxer
Krok recalls the case of a 39-year-old anti-vaxxer who was brought in with unbearable shortness of breath and who had recovered from COVID-19. The man, who could no longer communicate with the environment, was wearing an anti-vaccination T-shirt. “I see you made your choice,” I told him. “He was in such a bad state that he didn’t listen to me. He died two hours later.”
On a particularly difficult day last summer, Kroc struck up a conversation with a young woman who was an ambulance driver. The two of them complained to each other about the crowd waiting in the emergency room. “That’s because they’re not vaccinated,” Kroc said. “I’m not vaccinated either,” the girl replied. “Then you’re part of the problem!” the doctor retorted angrily.
To his surprise, the interlocutor wrote a complaint against him to the administration for aggressive behavior, and the doctor received a service reprimand. “In emergencies, we are used to people acting stupid,” Kroc said. Last summer, many nurses at Central Valley Hospital refused the vaccine, citing their political or religious beliefs. Other health workers, Kroc believes, refused to be vaccinated in protest at the “pressure” from the head of the hospital: “They feel left out and offended in terms of pay. They can’t stand being told what to do and react that way.”
The introduction of mandatory vaccination for healthcare workers in California in September resulted in 95% of workers in the sector being vaccinated. At the same time, the state authorities demanded the introduction of a third dose of the vaccine for 2 million medical workers.
Cases of cowardice of medical workers
In the early months of the pandemic, a San Francisco hospital set up a campaign tent in a parking lot to conduct mass coronavirus tests on suspected cases. “Three out of ten doctors deliberately avoided patients with COVID-19,” says Kroc.
“The tents had to be staffed with unskilled doctors, as qualified doctors have to be on standby for the seriously ill,” says Dr. Kroc.
Hospital rules allow medical staff to refuse to see specific patients. At the same time, many American clinics have contracts with medical companies to staff emergency departments, and these doctors also have the opportunity to choose patients (some refused to contact patients with covid).
“Some doctors in the emergency room have had to ‘squeeze’ colleagues and tell them, ‘Look, this is our job. If you don’t like it, give up! Don’t come here thinking you can choose any patient you prefer,” Kroc recalls.
The optimistic and almost heroic figures of doctors “throwing their breasts into battle against COVID-19”, which adorned the first informative videos about the virus, have now been erased from the memory of Krok. “I saw a lot of cowards. In the war, officers had pistols not for the enemy, but for execution on the spot who refused to go on the attack. The pandemic has hit healthcare hard. We have softened too much,” he says.
“The patient who was not vaccinated made the wrong decision. I can be mad at him all day long and think “he’s stupid”, but my job (as a doctor) is to convince them to get vaccinated.”
“Most people spend their lives feeling invisible to others, so I try to show them that I care about them and want only the best,” concluded Dr. Krok, our compatriot, in his monologue.