A Paediatric Doctor working at a government hospital in South Africa has been photographing the hospital at midnight to show work-life during Covid-19.
South Africa (20 September 2021) – An anonymous Paediatric Doctor named only Sarah found her escape from the Covid-19 chaos by giving the world a look at life in the hospital during midnight shifts.
The profile was started in 2017, but it took a turn a year ago and has amassed a following of over two thousand people. The account shares a personal tale of struggles, triumphs, and everything in-between. The Midnight Diaries is a real-life account from a doctor working at a government facility that has left many in awe of what our healthcare workers go through on a daily and nightly basis.
Doctor Sarah works 24/hour shifts where she spends all her time on site, whether working through emergency cases or just doing regular rounds. These hours are gruelling and even more so in the middle of a global pandemic.
The posts have been praised for being raw and honest. Some are inspiring and uplifting, while others show the dark side of life as a healthcare worker during this time. Recently, Sarah expressed her frustration with how the world views doctors today.
She spent years studying and has been working as a doctor for over 15 years, and over the last year, more and more people have sown seeds of doubt in her abilities all due to conspiracy theories. Sarah finds it deeply frustrating, and she is not alone; standing with her are the thousands of healthcare workers fighting to save South African lives. She shared her thoughts in her latest post, and it has inspired many to take a second look at what they are being told on social media.
“I’ve been practicing medicine for just over 15 years now. So that means for 15 years people have trusted me with their health and even more with the health of their children. From minor ailments; colds and flu, rashes, minor injuries. To more serious events; infections that require hospitalisation, significant trauma, seizures. And even to life threatening ones. I have put countless babies into a medically induced coma and put them onto life support. And conversely woken them up and taken them off the machine once their treatment course has been successful. I’ve made mistakes and seen too many sad outcomes to count. But for 15 years people have trusted me. At work, at home, in the shopping mall. Usually in an appropriate setting, but sometimes totally uninvited I have been asked to weigh in and to give advice. Sometimes patients ask questions, sometimes they have a specific treatment course they would prefer. But in the main, for 15 years people have trusted me with their health.
Now, when I need it the most, my word does not seem to be enough for some people. My word that I’ve reviewed the evidence and the Covid vaccine is safe and effective. My assertion that good vaccine coverage is our only way out of this mess seems simply not compelling enough for some. It seems that the video they watched on social media of a doctor from Ohio who they’ve never met and they actually don’t even know whether he’s a medical doctor or not (spoiler alert, he’s not) seems more trustworthy. Suddenly the fact that it’s not just me but literally every single one of the hundred or more medical doctors who I know personally who agree is just not convincing enough to drown out the one doctor who they know said something bad about the vaccine. Suddenly I am not to be trusted.
Only it’s just on this one small matter. The one thing I’m asking them to do. The one thing I’m saying, “I know you’re scared, we all are, just please do this”. That one thing they won’t trust me on. But everything else they still will, the rashes, the seizures. And when Covid comes for them they’ll trust me then, to put them on life support and to fight to save their life.
Maybe it will be too late then. Maybe it won’t. I swing between heartbroken and livid. Because somehow although some seem to think my opinion can’t be trusted, I still have to show myself trustworthy. I have to put my oath before my feelings. Somehow I have to talk to my anger and regulate it in such a way that it doesn’t overwhelm me. I have to find the patience to speak gently and engage kindly with those who are hesitant to vaccinate. It is my public health duty. Although I want to get mad, I can’t. I wonder if society is considering this continued emotional cost on medics, who were already close to burnout. And who’s existing Covid related stressors just continue. We are not ok.”
So if you know a healthcare worker, give them a little extra loving because, as Sarah has shared, they are not okay! You can read more of Sarah’s midnight musings via her Facebook page here.