Scripps Health asks for kindness as COVID-19 cases surge

Posted at 5:59 AM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 08:59:12-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Scripps Health is making a simple request for patients seeking care at any of their San Diego County locations — be kind. The message was sent out Tuesday in an email through the patient portal amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The email describes an exhausted workforce, facing demeaning comments and verbal abuse from some patients.

Scripps Health CEO Chris Van Gorder says health care workers are dealing with angry patients, upset with long wait times when calling for care. He says health care workers have been battered and assaulted.

Recently, a person pulled a knife out on a staff member. Van Gorder says hospital security stepped in and the situation was diffused.

Van Gorder admits, like the rest of the country, Scripps health care workers are doing their best trying to keep up with another surge of COVID-19 cases, long wait times for tests, and emergency room visits, but he says the respect has gone out the window.

He became emotional when reading a message from a nurse manager from Scripps Memorial La Jolla.

Van Gorder asks that people have patience and understanding when seeking care, reminding people that emergency rooms are not the place to go for a COVID-19 test.

Scripps Health message to patients:

Be Kind

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over, but it is our hope that in the meantime people will work with — not against — us. Health care workers are exhausted, and they need your support. So please, when you do access care, be kind. Be patient. Be understanding. Our doctors and staff need it right now more than ever.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers were regarded as heroes. Now, we are hearing from our staff members that they are sometimes being met with demeaning comments and verbal abuse from patients.

These doctors, nurses, and others have been fighting this virus for almost two years. They’ve seen it kill hundreds of the patients they care for. They are doing their best to carry on under the continued mental and physical strain being placed on them. And they are doing so as we, along with health systems throughout the United States, are facing a staffing shortage — due in part to the Omicron variant as well as those who have burned out and are no longer able to continue their work in health care.