NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Like the pinwheels planted to remember COVID-19 victims, the last 16 months have been a whirlwind for hospital and healthcare workers.
On Thursday, several dozen staff and students from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk held a brief ceremony with a moment of silence to remember those who have died from COVID-19.
“Everything was so hectic and everybody was providing such care, that they really didn’t have time to sit back and reflect on those patients you know, honor them and remember them,” said Dr. Linda Archer, vice dean of Graduate Medical Education at EVMS.
Archer brought the idea of a remembrance ceremony to the grounds at EVMS.
“I know a moment is not a long time but it’s something,” she said.
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital saw more than 1,250 COVID-19 hospitalizations and 131 COVID-19 deaths, said Dr. Francis Counselman with the Emergency Medicine Department.
Counselman said healthcare workers have not been able to properly mourn for two reasons: one, the patients keep coming and, two, pandemic restrictions kept them from getting together with family friends for support, which is what people do to process grief.
“When you’re ‘go, go, go,’ it catches up to you. So, having that moment to debrief, to process ‘What did we just go through?’ you need that,” Dr. Marissa Galicia-Castillo told WAVY.
Castillo said after months of putting emotions on hold, burnout and depression are setting in.
“Luckily it’s gotten better, but still we worry is there going to be a surge because not everyone is getting vaccinated the way we thought people would,” Castillo said.
Counselman said almost everyone in the hospital with COVID-19 now is unvaccinated.
“And that’s why the plea here is get vaccinated it really saves lives, its save hospitalizations,” Counselman said.