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'National Doctors’ Day': Alabama doctors open up about battling pandemic, send message to other health workers

Dr. Landers adds, “You know, I feel like I spent my whole career hoping this would never happen but trying to take the elements of training and use those.”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — It’s National Doctors’ Day, so if you have a doctor in your life, be sure to say thank you! We can’t ignore all that health workers have done during the pandemic. 

Our Sydney Stallworth checked in on doctors across the state to say ‘thank you’ and hear about their experience battling the virus on the front lines.

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We asked, “How has this past year been for you?”

Dr. Neha Shah, Chief Medical Officer of Thrive Alabama, says, “This experience-- just like for non-health care workers-- has been a year of ups and downs."

Dr. Ali Hassoun, Infectious Disease Specialist with Huntsville Hospital, says,  “It’s definitely been challenging, sometimes frustrating as well.” 

Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer with Alabama Department of Public Health, says, “It has been a year requiring a lot of patience…” Dr. Landers adds, “You know, I feel like I spent my whole career hoping this would never happen but trying to take the elements of training and use those.”

Dr. Shah says, “There were a lot of lows and a lot of highs. A lot of extremes for both sides. The extremes of science non-believers and trying to explain to people that this illness is real. That’s been interesting. Versus the extremes of people going out of their way to help each other, to volunteer and make health care workers feel loved and supported and say ‘We see you’...”

Dr. Hassoun says, “People lost life and have significant after effects. But, on the other hand I think, there are a lot of lessons that we’ve learned from...”

These doctors have a message to health care workers everywhere. 

Dr. Shah says, “Well, Happy Doctors Day to everybody else out there!” She adds, “I think this week has felt like one long week of being on call or being in residency. But, the light is at the end of the tunnel hopefully, and if we can make it through that, we can make it through this.”

Dr. Hassoun says, “As healthcare-- we really did a tremendous job and we should continue doing that.” 

Dr. Karen Landers shares, “Something that a mentor told me years ago as a very very young doctor: ‘Do your job. Do it in good faith. Take care of the patient. And in Alabama, all the citizens are our patients in public health.”

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