Anchorage Health Teams Are "Under Attack" – Country Journal Asks, Is That Happening In the Copper Valley?

Bad News From Anchorage  (Stock photo)  Alaskans Are Yelling At, Insulting & Berating Medical Personnel  September 25th, 2021 People are...

Bad News From Anchorage 

(Stock photo) 

Alaskans Are Yelling At, Insulting & Berating Medical Personnel 

September 25th, 2021

People are harassing doctors and medical staff in Anchorage. What's happening in the Copper Valley?

News stories about bad behavior toward medical staff have erupted on an almost daily basis over Alaska Public Media and in the Anchorage Daily News

These reports have exposed the alarming news that some Alaskans in Anchorage are so inflamed by Covid-related anger that they are behaving in a manner nobody has ever seen before. 

Doctors describe patients and members of the public who are yelling at, spitting upon, writing nasty letters to, and even trying to hurt medical staff in Anchorage, including at hospitals and local pharmacies. 

The state's medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, commented in a public forum: "Our public health team has literally been under attack." She said emergency room nurses were having to deal with violent patients who were angry with them about Covid. 

At Anchorage Assembly meetings, irate "anti-vaxxers" have been reported jeering at medical staff, and mocking and insulting them, both personally and on-line. 

A Daily News story catalogued Anchorage residents booing at physicians who were trying to tell the public about the problem of Covid. One doctor in Anchorage, deeply disturbed, noted in a letter to the Anchorage Daily News that Alaskans were "accusing the medical professionals of lying, withholding effective medical treatments, and deliberately hurting or killing their patients." 

Meanwhile, Back In The Copper Valley...

In the Copper Valley, local medical facilities are doing the best they can to meet the overwhelming demands of a rural Alaska community that is being hit hard by the Delta variant – as they provide service with limited resources and small staffs.

On September 24th, the Copper River Country Journal asked Jim Godin, Director of Healthcare Quality and Accreditation at CRNA, if it was as bad here in our region as it was in Anchorage.  

Only a week before, CRNA's new CEO, Angela Vermillion, asked Copper Valley people to "be kind." 

Jim Godin replied that these were stressful times with strong emotions and that in spite of "frustrations" local people seemed to remain "overwhelmingly supportive" of CRNA's efforts on their behalf. 

Like CEO Angela Vermillion, Jim Godin asked the public to take into account the situation and the staff at CRNA's physical and emotional exhaustion levels. 

Here is Jim Godin's answer to the Copper River Country Journal, in its entirety: 


MESSAGE FROM CRNA:
I can’t speak to specific instances, and I certainly do not want to generalize the actions of a few to the entire region. People are overwhelming supportive of the work we do here, regardless of opinions on COVID-19. 

Our staff and resources have limitations, like any business. These are stressful times that sometimes manifest themselves in strong emotions. I don’t believe anyone is going out of their way to target or harass our staff on the basis of COVID-19.

Most of what we are seeing is frustrations with timeliness and availability of services in a system that has been operating at or beyond capacity for most of this year.

It’s impossible for me to truly convey the dedication and effort of our staff, but it’s nothing short of extraordinary. This amount of effort throughout the pandemic exhausts physical and emotional energy, from staff and patients alike.

What we ask from people is patience and understanding as we do our best to provide much needed services.

500 Emergency Medical Workers 

As Alaska's homegrown medical workers, in both Anchorage and throughout the state, struggle with Covid, exhaustion, and added concerns about the public and its behavior toward them, a fresh crop of medical personnel is coming to help in this emergency. 

Over 470 health care workers from Outside, including hundreds of nurses, respiratory therapists and certified assistants, will soon start arriving in the state, under a Federal Emergency Management Agency Contract. They were summoned by Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.  


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