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“…and the Oscar goes to…”

July 23, 2012

…and the Oscar goes to…life’s often invisible, support staff waiting stage left – the First Responders and Healthcare Workers!

I don’t believe any of us can fully comprehend the horror of the attack on the theater goers in Aurora Colorado. The Press has certainly tried to convey it to us. They have painted gruesome word pictures, done heartbreaking interviews, asked penetrating and detailed questions of authorities and provided us with the numbers dead and wounded. They have done their best to jump up and down screaming… look over here this is REALLY, REALLY BAD!!!!

And it is…

But not just for the immediate victims, those who sat in the theater, those who saw, smelled, felt the horror as it unfolded. There are also those that saw the aftermath in the chaos of an unfamiliar, uncontrolled environment. The First Responders – Police, Fire, EMS – faced unimaginable carnage. The normalcy, rationality of the world was shattered for them. This was not an accident which can often be rationalized as “an act of god”. This horror was an incomprehensible “act of man”. The First Responders didn’t find themselves in Hell. The First Responders with purpose walked into Hell. They will be forever changed.

And then there are those that tried to put the pieces back together – the Healthcare Workforce! It is the healthcare workforce that with single purpose mobilized to pull the victims from the grip of Hell. It is an epic battle.  And as such, it requires the skills and talents of all the Healthcare Workforce members. Emergency Rooms “…calling doctors, nurses and security staff. Even additional custodians were called in when the chaos began…” reported the Denver Post. Everyone played a role. And everyone, like the First Responders, will be forever changed.

Back in the day, I was an Emergency Services Trauma Nurse. I have been a part of epic battles to pull victims from the grip of Hell. To this day, I can see the victims. I can smell the carnage. I can hear the inconsolable cries of pain and loss. I have the newspaper clippings. I was forever changed.

There aren’t many jobs where the workers say “I know I can make a difference doing this work, but I know it will forever change me in ways I can’t imagine.” That’s what First Responders and Healthcare Workers do every shift.

Maybe we’re giving Oscars to the wrong people…

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