Superheroes wear lab coats

If there’s anything movies and comics have taught us, it’s that a lone hero will always be around to rescue the world when it needs it the most. Case in point:

  • When the world was being torn apart by The Great War, Wonder Woman stepped in to take on the Central Powers single-handedly.
  • When the Avengers tried to save the planet and the universe (and failed), Captain Marvel stepped in and said otherwise.
  • When the world had been just about wiped out by an all-consuming pandemic, Will Smith in I Am Legend developed a cure in his laboratory basement.

All of these heroes were brave and resourceful in an unprecedented time of need.

Unfortunately, the one thing these characters have resoundingly in common is that they are fictional. What we’re living today with the COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand, is very real. As we push further into confusion and anxiety, it seems like the one thing that could help now is a hero.

Luckily for us, we have someone to look to—hundreds of thousands, actually! These heroes help us every single day, in hospitals, in laboratories, and all around us. And note: these heroes don’t need capes or Latex costumes, they’re already wearing lab coats.

 

The front lines of labcoat superheroes

If you’ve been anywhere on social media recently, you’ve seen plenty of posts about nurses and doctors treating patients, and rightfully so. As we see numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 climb higher every day, more and more hospitals become crushed under the surging number of patients in need. This has completely shifted the dynamic and workflow in these places—but we already said this is a new reality for all of us, right?

As hospital workers receive and treat more patients than have ever been within the walls of their facilities before, they also have to tackle the enormously increased workload. Truly, these demands are far greater than any hospital’s infrastructure was ever designed to meet.

One approach to treat as many patients as possible has been to press “pause” on the hierarchal system hospitals normally have and to help workers crisscross through areas where they could be helpful, lending a hand where a hand needs lending. In many facilities around the world, doctors, nurses, technicians, and other practitioners are all having their responsibilities shuffled. As patient loads continue to increase, the needs change on the fly, and this ability for hospital workers to help with duties that don’t normally fall into their areas has been absolutely crucial when dealing with so many cases.

The work, risk, and sacrifice that has gone into treating and controlling COVID-19 on the front lines is nothing short of heroic in every way.

 

Keep the fortress standing

As doctors, nurses, practitioners, and all healthcare workers rush to learn new skills and to undergo a more taxing workload than ever before, the hospitals and healthcare facilities need to stay sanitary, in order, and in tip-top shape.

Hospital janitorEspecially during an infectious pandemic, keeping hospitals pristine is crucial. Hospital janitorial staff are truly indispensable. Patients and healthcare workers are already at a higher risk of infection, and there is no need for an unsanitary environment to raise that risk any higher or allow the infection to spread to even more patients.

And can you even imagine what hospital reception desks must look like now? Or the medical records departments? If hospitals everywhere are at or above capacity, you can bet the clerical staff is, too. Professionals working with medical records keep order for entire institutions, and help us report the best numbers we can for the good of everyone worldwide a we get a handle on the situation. When order and organization are as critical as they are now, these workers are as indispensable as ever.

With all the medical machines, computers, hardware and software in a hospital, it might seem like magic that everything seems to function during those endless hospital hours. But actually, it isn’t magic at all. It’s the information tech team. These are the individuals trained in everything from making sure each mouse and keyboarded are connected correctly to ensuring the radiology machine is working. With more patients than ever before, not a single machine can go AWOL for long, and we have these workers to thank.

It’s pretty clear to see that all these hospital workers rushing to work every day, well beyond capacity, are heroes to admire and thank.

 

Lab coats in laboratories

Of course, there is also crucial work being done outside the hospitals. Every measure and reaction taken in response to COVID-19 (or any virus for that matter) must come from research and testing. Otherwise, we’d be flying blind, something we certainly can’t afford to do during a global pandemic.

Science lab coat labwear face maskResearch is fundamental to understand how the situation is being handled now versus how it needs to be handled into the future. Everything from identifying symptoms to treating the infection and more long-term interest like flattening the curve and developing a vaccine comes from research by other superheroes in lab coats. Read our article on what some of this recent research is saying about COVID-19.

 

Maybe these professionals aren’t caped crusaders, but they are heroes. And they’re around us every day, working tirelessly to keep us safe and secure when we need it most. On the other side of this pandemic, they will have saved the world.

That said, these lab jacket-protagonists can’t do the job entirely on their own—everyone has to do their part at home. That is, literally at home. Staying home and minimizing contagion is the best way to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, which in turn helps from over-burdening hospitals. Do note: staying away from hospitals when you have just a few symptoms and aren’t in severe condition is important as well, since going to your local hospital to check symptoms puts you at risk of getting infected if you weren’t already. You can then end up spreading the virus to your household and others in your community.

It’s important to stay safe, stay at home, and listen to your healthcare and science professionals—our heroes in lab coats.  

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