Opinion | Health Workers, ‘Risking Their Own Lives to Save Ours’

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To the Editor:

Re “Give Health Workers Hazard Pay,” by Sandeep Jauhar (Opinion guest essay, Jan. 10):

As a fellow physician at Northwell, I appreciate Dr. Jauhar’s sentiment regarding hazard pay for work in the hospital since Covid-19 changed the medical landscape so dramatically. Surely a bonus would be a confirmation of public recognition of the sacrifices we’ve made and continue to make in the riskier environment we now work in.

But, in truth, as we are all vaccinated (Northwell readily followed New York State guidelines for health care workers), there is certainly less personal risk than in the first terrifying months of the pandemic, when many doctors, nurses, paramedics and other selfless health care workers sickened and often died.

Today extra hazard pay is more of a request for the public we work so hard to care for to take notice of us, and to appreciate what we continue to do every day. The serenading and public displays of gratitude to health care workers back in the early days were a little over the top … but we do miss the sentiment.

What I would prefer over hazard pay would be for every one of our patients to get vaccinated and boostered, as we request constantly. That would be what would make me happy. That would be the ultimate gesture of appreciation to all those toiling to help sick patients — and the community’s way of saying “we care about you.”

Jessica Jacob
Great Neck, N.Y.

To the Editor:

As someone who has unfortunately been hospitalized four times over the past six months, I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this essay. While most health care workers choose their careers for other than monetary reasons, many of them are significantly underpaid for the highly difficult and dangerous work they do.

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