Occasionally, I’m blindsided by health statistics from Africa, but 500 dead healthcare workers in the Ebola fight is sobering. These people had medical training and work on a continent known for its exotic diseases. With training and experience, they still died.
Many of them were exposed because they were humans and not robots. A crying child holds out its arms, and a healthcare worker responds. A bleeding woman falls to the ground, begging for God’s mercy, and a tired health care worker bends over to help. Sure they know the sick need to be tested and isolated, but their humanity intrudes.
They keep going to work after seeing colleagues, family, and friends die. They keep going to work when they’re bone tired. They keep going to work, knowing they could accidentally expose their loved ones. Some feel they have no choice, but I say health care workers skilled in caring for people with infectious diseases know full well they can leave and get good jobs all over the world.
They stay because they know if they step away more will sicken. They stay because the calling has grabbed them. The calling is to help the sick in their time of need. Many people don’t understand the calling, because it’s confused with the religious calling to be a priest or a pastor. I’m talking about the health care calling.
It’s a feeling that humbles a person; they believe in duty first and paychecks second. It’s a feeling of service, to the greater good, to those who are suffering in sickness. During the 1918 flu epidemic, retired nurses and doctors responded to the calls for help, because they still felt the calling.
In this story, we can see and hear the voices of the American health care workers who survived Ebola. Despite their fears, the pain, and the discrimination they’ve felt, they would take care of another Ebola patient. They would also care for any person sick of any new disease. Watch the video and you can detect the calling in their faces and in their voices.
Health care workers go daily into real battles in Africa and also in every hospital of the world. Each day they wake and go to work, knowing they pull sick people from the brink of dying. They save lives without a weapon, wait, their weapons are their body and their knowledge. Their shield is their calling to help others.
I’m proud to say they’re my colleagues.