Opinion & Editorial

Letter to the Editor: Healthcare workers plead: ‘We cannot keep fighting this fight’

Dear community members:

We are asking for a moment of your time on behalf of Eugene Emergency Physicians, a group of 37 emergency medicine physicians and 13 physician assistants contracted with PeaceHealth. We cover the RiverBend, University District and Cottage Grove emergency departments. 

For 30 years, we have cared for this community. We live here, our children attend school here, we see you in the grocery store. Please believe us when we tell you that we have the community’s best interest at heart, because it is our community as well.  

This pandemic has tested us like never before.We have been frontline witnesses from the beginning. Every physician and PA in our group has been voluntarily vaccinated for months and has looked on with sadness and despair as public health has become polarized.  

We state unequivocally that vaccinations are our best hope to keep our community safe. If you have chosen not to be vaccinated, we strongly ask you to reconsider. 

As of Aug. 18, PeaceHealth Oregon hospitals have diagnosed 1,037 patients with COVID-19 in 2021. Of those, more than 96 percent were not fully vaccinated. Although it is possible to contract COVID-19 following vaccination, it is clear that the chances of hospitalization or death are exponentially lower.  

We are running out of hospital beds in our state. We may soon be unable to adequately care for patients needing surgery for other ailments. We are rapidly losing the ability to care for all of the community’s needs.  

We know that many of you will read this letter and have information from various sources that you feel supports the choice not to vaccinate. We urge you to take a moment and consider the impacts of your decisions on the greater community. These vaccines are safe and effective.  

You may be very healthy and have a strong immune system. You may feel you will be safe. We have cared for and admitted many patients who have had this very thought. Unfortunately, we are admitting younger and healthier people with complications from COVID-19. 

It is not a bad cold. It is not a bad flu. It hurts. It keeps people awake at night because of pain. It causes fluid to build up in the lungs making breathing difficult. It is awful even in those not sick enough to require hospitalization. 

We urge you to consider your circle of friends and family. Do you have or know children who are too young to be vaccinated? We are seeing a rise in cases in our pediatric patients. Do you have elderly relatives who have chronic diseases? They are more likely to suffer illness and death. We cannot keep fighting this fight without your help.  

We are seeing people resist not just vaccinations, but the return of mask mandates. We too are tired of masks. We wear them every day, all day. Vaccines and masks work. If you want your children to return to school in person, please vaccinate. If you want your children not to be masked in school, please vaccinate. 

If anything in this letter resonates with you, please go get vaccinated. 

The physicians and PAs of Eugene Emergency Physicians 

Kevin Allen, MD

Brad Anderson, MD

Graham Becherer-Bailey, DO

Gianina Best, MD

Garrett Brady

Jeremy Brown, MD

Joshua Buehler, MD

Dave Burdman

Leslie Burwell-McDowell, MD

Robert Callahan II, MD

Brian Carter, DO

Sarah Coleman, MD

Kurt Conner

Ann Cooley, MD

Honora Considine Cortelyou, MD

Michael Day, MD

Melissa Defreest, MD

Dan Dietel, MD

Melissa Doherty, MD

Jesse Ennis

Nathan Garton, MD

Sonja Halvorson

Ian Hart

Dan Horrell, DO

Aaron Hougham, MD

Patrick Hudson, MD

Bianca Jacobs, MD

Colette Khan, DO

Tonya Koonz

Amanda Manning

John McCall, MD

Dan McGee, MD

Jeremy Milligan

Paul Nowak

Rebecca Palmer, MD

Margaret Pattison, MD

Jonas Pologe, MD

Chris Poulsen, DO

Erik Poyourow, MD

Charlotte Ransom, MD

Sarah Reading

Katherine Ready, MD

Devin Rogers, MD

Jeff Salerno, MD

Julie Seo, MD

Jenna Shenk, DO

Adam Sherman

Valerie Smith

Scott Williams, MD

Glenn Ziemski, MD



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