UAB doctors fight fatigue, frustration during COVID-19 pandemic

Hospital workers talk stresses and frustrations

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Medical professionals have been through the ringer over the past 8 months and increased numbers of COVID patients is straining staff.

Those who wear scrubs don’t really ever get to clock out right now, and that’s hard to deal with.

“I admitted the very first confirmed COVID positive patient to this hospital,” said Dr. Kierstin Kennedy, UAB Chief of Hospital Medicine.

Hundreds of patients later, COVID has consumed the lives of medical professionals.

“I think what’s also really challenging about being in healthcare right now is again we are subject to the same stressors everyone else is feeling,” said Dr. Kennedy.

One stressor is pretty unique - when they give medical advice like to wear a mask or social distance, some people react with anger.

“You see that kind of anger and frustration at the system and it’s very difficult and they want to lash out at someone or anyone,” said Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB Hospital Epidemiologist.

For example, Dr. Kennedy wants more people to know that COVID-19 survivors often have long-term side effects.

“Those are stories that we aren’t really hearing, but when you share that, you get accused of fear-mongering, of making it up, it’s the oddest thing,” said Dr. Kennedy.

They feel that even with the added criticism, they have to keep trying to educate people.

“None of us want to shut down, all of us want to be able to do things, the way we do that is by wearing masks,” said Dr. Kennedy.

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