Why so many health care workers have quit, where it leaves the rest of us who need medical aid

“What this means for the people who are left behind is a crushing spiral where their jobs are already hard. And then some of their colleagues leave, which demoralizes them and also leaves them with more work. So their jobs become even harder. And that means that more of them leave. And so where's the floor to that? I don't know the answer to that,” says Ed Yong, staff writer for the Atlantic. Photo by Shutterstock.

Nearly one in five health care workers have left their jobs since the COVID pandemic began in spring 2020, according to Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic. 

“Health care workers have been assaulted at work, they've been insulted and billed as incompetent for not prescribing drugs that we know don't do anything for COVID, like hydroxychloroquine. They are having to save people who are refusing even basic aspects of medical care because they don't believe that they have COVID, or because they think that they know how it should be treated based on something they've heard on conservative news media,” he says. 

He adds that a lot of the most experienced people have quit, and their knowledge won’t be passed down to the next generation of doctors and nurses, which means trouble for people who might need care — all of us — over the next several years. 

KCRW also talks to Dr. Nivedita Lakhera, an internal medicine physician at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, who feels enraged over the state of the country and many people’s refusal of vaccinations. “I really want to give up. The only thing that keeps me going is the virtues from my family. Otherwise … 90% of me just doesn't want to care anymore. But yet, that 10% of you keeps wanting to push,” she says.  

And for a little uplift, you can check out “Julia,” a new documentary exploring Julia Child’s life and relationship with her husband Paul, and find out where you can donate and volunteer in LA this Thanksgiving.