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A good season to give thanks to medical professionals | READER COMMENTARY

Brian Avaritt, a nurse in the recovery room, and Cindy Voith, a registered nurse, stand outside Mercy Medical Center Wed., Apr., 29, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff)
Brian Avaritt, a nurse in the recovery room, and Cindy Voith, a registered nurse, stand outside Mercy Medical Center Wed., Apr., 29, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

This holiday season, thank a health care hero.

This year has been tough for nearly everybody. The year 2020 will be remembered as an especially rough time — riddled with health crises, job losses, financial insecurity and demonstrations of racial inequity. While it may be hard to feel grateful this holiday season, I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life. And I encourage you to appreciate those who put themselves at risk each day to care, protect and serve our community (”Maryland reports 48 coronavirus deaths, most since May, and 2,044 new virus cases,” Dec. 3).

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Included among those who deserve special thanks are our nation’s physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. As we enter the holiday season, our health care heroes will be working harder than ever as COVID-19 infections are rapidly rising. While caring for the exploding volume of COVID patients, our health care professionals also are busy treating patients for the all the other health problems that require their expert attention such as new cancer diagnoses, heart disease and diabetes complications. Never before have we asked so much of our medical community. They are working day and night for us, putting their lives on the line.

In this season of giving thanks, I would encourage you to reach out to the medical professionals in your life. If a health care worker has treated you well, has taken the time to truly listen to you, to come up with a diagnosis, to check in with you, would you consider taking a few minutes to say a special thank you? Writing a heartfelt note of gratitude or singing their praises on social media are a couple quick and easy ways to make these incredible people feel your appreciation.

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However you choose to express thanks, know that medical professionals will embrace the outpouring of support. And to make their lives easier and safer, do your part too: Wear your mask, physical distance from others, frequently wash your hands and get a flu shot.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Richard J. McCarthy, M.D., Rockville

The writer is medical director of Kaiser Permanente’s Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group.

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