(WXYZ) — It’s been more than a year that frontline workers have been dealing with COVID-19 and tens of thousands of deaths have been reported in Michigan. Frontline workers witnessing the pain and hurt from family and patients.
But now that COVID cases are going down, what happens to the frontline heroes? How do they cope with more than a year of constant death?
“It’s going to take a long time for a lot of us to get through what we saw,” said Dr. Justin Skrzynski, MD Beaumont Royal Oak.
They are the frontline heroes, there at the start of the pandemic treating patients risking their own health and lives.
“In the beginning, I said it was like a war and in some ways, it really was like a war. We were fighting against the virus and we lost a lot of people in that fight,” said Dr. Mathew Sims, infectious disease specialist at Beaumont Health.
They witnessed death almost on a daily basis. Intensive care units full and hospitals reaching capacity with sick and dying patients.
“We’d see families who lost grandparents, we’d see families who lost parents and some families where both parents died from COVID and then the whole family was torn apart,” Dr. Sims said.
Doctors now dealing with the after-effects, some dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder but hospitals are offering help and everyone is getting through this together.
“Everyone in the medical community is relieved beyond words to be putting this behind us, and I think everyone can say this has been probably the most stressful period of their lives,” Dr. Skrznyski said.
Dr. Sims adding, “They’ve made available counseling and other... policies as much as they can, and I think there’s a large number of people who e used them over the last year."
Now that COVID cases are going down health professionals are still warning the virus is still here and are encouraging everyone to get a vaccine.
“The way you control variants, the way you prevent new variants from forming, is you get everybody vaccinated,” Dr. Sims said.
“There’s a lot of baggage that a lot of people will be carrying with them that will take some time to sort out,” Dr. Skrznyski added.