This Hero’s Day, We Celebrate Medical Front Liners As Modern-Day Heroes

This Hero’s Day, We Celebrate Medical Front Liners As Modern-Day Heroes


At over 200,000 cases, COVID-19 shows no sign of slowing down. Despite this though, healthcare workers and other front liners still do their jobs as best as they can. This Hero’s Day, we recognize these modern-day bayanis all over the country as unsung heroes keeping up the good fight.

RELATED: Now Is Not The Time To Turn Our Backs On Front Liners

According to Merriam-Webster, they describe the word hero as “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities.” For me, I see a hero as someone who strives for the greater good despite all the challenges they may face. In the past 6 months, a hero is what a lot of people would use to describe people who go above and beyond their circumstance and call of duty to answer to the greater good, especially the healthcare workers and those on the front lines. In the face of one of the worst pandemics in recent human history, these people, most of them unknown to the general public, continue to help as many people as best they can.

Those working in the medical field have received the lion’s share of attention and those people have a special place in my heart. This is mainly driven by my parents being doctors and quite a few of my cousins and relatives working in the field of medicine. Ever since I was young, I’ve witnessed firsthand their care and dedication to their patients. It’s not lost on me how hard they have worked and how much they have sacrificed to do what they do.

To say that being a healthcare worker during these times is difficult is probably one of the biggest understatements of the year. Whenever my parents go to the hospital, they go to great lengths to make sure that they are wearing the proper PPE such as wearing their scrub suit, isolation gown, N95 mask, and face shield. Once in their clinic, they open the air purifier and make sure that the patient’s chair is 6 feet apart from their table. The room is disinfected after each and every patient. When they go home, they remove all their clothes by the front door and immediately take a shower. After that, they disinfect all their belongings to prevent possible contamination. One doctor told me that whenever she arrives in her clinic, she cleans her table, door handles, tables, and chairs, and sprays Lysol in the room to make sure that it’s as clean as possible. When a patient leaves her clinic, she cleans everything that the patient touched or used. All these are done for the safety of not only their patients but for themselves as well.

The fear that my parents catch the virus is always in the back of my mind and the same goes for them. When I talked to some healthcare workers I know, the common theme that appeared to me was that all of them are afraid of not only catching the virus but spreading it to their families as well.

As one doctor explained to me, the constant fear of possibly getting infected is mentally draining and takes a toll on his mental health. Another doctor told me that it’s scary to go to work because she risks her health and possibly the health of her family. She went on to explain, “You can’t expect patients to be truthful about their symptoms.” All this stress and fear culminates in a very taxing experience for the people I have talked to. Yet, they are still there for their patients and to do their part as doctors.

One story that stuck to me was when a relative doctor of mine caught COVID-19. When I asked him about his experience, he told me that he was worried about protecting his wife and his family from catching the virus. When he got admitted to the hospital, he explained how every night felt like a mind game. He feared for his life not knowing whether he would get better or worse. This constant worrying led to anxiety and paranoia. Despite this, he recovered and is back at the hospital working in treating his patients so that they too will get better. For most of us, going through such a harrowing experience can be extremely draining yet he still returned to work as he had patients to take care of.

Knowing all these made me really appreciate the work they do and it’s only fitting that we deem them as heroes. It’s no secret though that healthcare workers in this country are underpaid and overworked. Whenever I see news stories about nurses and other healthcare workers being mistreated, be discriminated against, or worse, succumbing to COVID-19, it breaks my heart. Back at the beginning of August, when healthcare workers made a call for a two-week return to ECQ to combat rising COVID-19 cases, I wholeheartedly supported them, but I was surprised to see people misinterpret them. Suddenly, I was seeing people spread the false narrative that healthcare workers are lazy. As one doctor told me, “The call was for the well-being of everybody, not for healthcare workers to rest as there is a genuine fear that the front liners will collapse which will leave a lot of people helpless.”

When they took their Hippocratic oath, they did so without expecting to face a constant barrage of unwarranted and undeserved criticism and abuse. We like to call them heroes, but we sometimes treat them as less than human which should not be the case. At any point in time, front liners could just resign and do a less stressful occupation. Yet, they do not. They continue to do what they do despite the danger and challenges they face. To me, that is why I consider them heroes.

To be so brave in the face of such daunting hurdles is no joke. This doesn’t mean though that people have a free pass to demean them. Yes, it is their job, but getting mistreated is not part of it. If you want to call them heroes and be allies, you have to show your support through action. As one doctor explained to me, “It’s heartwarming to be called a hero but the appreciation is best seen through action.” The biggest way to do that is by following medical and safety guidelines.

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Always wear your mask and face shield when you go out in public. Always thoroughly wash your hands. Practice physical distancing. If possible, try to limit going out and do so only if needed. It can get tiring, but we have to remain vigilant and not let our guard down. Also, when we do these things, do it from a place of empathy and love.

I know some people do these things out of fear of being punished, but seeing it through the viewpoint of helping the general public even if it doesn’t feel like it truly helps. Another way to support them is to listen to health experts. Believe in facts, not Facebook. Don’t share or believe in fake news and conspiracy theories as those just make the situation worse. It boggles my mind to see people participate in anti-mask protests in America and turn the act of wearing a mask into a controversial topic even though it is not. If you have a question or concern about COVID-19, turn to a reputable source, not a random post on social media. Finally, don’t be afraid to speak up when you see front liners get abused or mistreated. Speak up for them when they can’t.

This Hero’s Day, as we recognize front liners as modern-day heroes, we must also recognize the realities they face, because as one of the most susceptible, not everyone is as fortunate to see the battle through the end. Every day is a fight for them, and it takes courage to step out of their homes and treat those who are sick despite the danger that entails. We must remember that these people are human beings, not emotionless robots. These are dedicated and patient people who only want to provide the best care for their patients They go through things just like we do, and we should be there to support them in any way we can. From some doctors I’ve talked to, they don’t feel like heroes as they are just doing their job, but they expect to be treated fairly and feel protected, which is only right. I have the utmost respect for front liners as I know so many people do. If we are to see them as heroes, we must also be willing to stand by them through the good and the bad.

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