Healthcare workers need public’s support

A vase of flowers is placed near a Columbus Regional Hospital ambulance that is draped in a black shroud for a funeral and memorial service for Columbus Regional Hospital paramedic/EMT Scott Gordon at Columbus Municipal Airport in Columbus, Ind., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Gordon contracted COVID-19 during his line of work as a paramedic/EMT on a Columbus Regional Health ambulance. He died on Nov. 15 after and eight-day battle with COVID-19. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Bagpipes were played on the tarmac near a shrouded ambulance, which had a small bouquet of white carnations next to it in honor of the health care hero.

A photo of Scott Gordon smiling was propped on a table next to a burning candle, as community members wept behind their face coverings and "Taps" was played.

Members of the fire department folded an American flag, and a LifeLine helicopter also hummed past the hangar for a flyover.

All of the sights and sounds were nothing short of heartbreaking.

A memorial service and funeral was held at Columbus Municipal Airport on Saturday to honor the life of Gordon, a CRH EMS/paramedic that recently lost his life after a battle with COVID-19. The Columbus resident worked for almost 20 years at CRH, and was widely admired and respected in the first-responder community.

Gordon, who was 56 years old at the time of his passing, is believed to be the second EMS worker in Indiana to die from complications of the virus. He is believed to have caught the virus from a colleague while working in an ambulance earlier this month.

The news of Gordon’s tragic passing comes as Indiana continues to see an increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

CRH is continuing to deal with a record number of COVID-19 patients, and like many other hospitals has been forced to shift its resources to deal with the surge in sick patients.

Many health experts have said that staffing — not the numbers of beds — is the biggest issue the healthcare community is currently facing.

As the beds fill up, fewer nurses and doctors can help patients dealing with other health issues and emergencies.

At CRH, 27 staff members were quarantined last week after testing positive or having symptoms consistent with the coronavirus while also pushing the facility’s maximum capacity.

During a statewide press conference last week, Dr. Eric Fish, president and CEO of Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, said that his hospital is short staffed due to the number of workers being forced to quarantine, and that some professionals have left the profession entirely due to the increased strain and risk of coming to work every day.

Unfortunately, there are still some individuals in the community not complying to mask and social gathering guidelines.

There are still many individuals in the community not complying to mask and social gathering guidelines, which puts others at risk.

Healthcare workers are putting their lives on the line every day, and the public owes it to them to implement best public health practices into daily routines.

The loss of any life to COVID-19 is a tragedy, and it’s imperative that every person continues to take personal accountability for their actions to help limit the spread of the disease.