The word ‘hero’ is being bandied about too liberally during the pandemic

A letter from James Tinneny:

Friday, 14th May 2021, 6:48 am
Letter to the editor

On Wednesday evening I watched on the news an item about a proposed memorial in Westminster Abbey to honour those in the health service who worked ‘on the front line’ during the current pandemic.

I want to make it clear from the outset that I have the greatest respect for those who worked in difficult and emotionally draining conditions. What upsets me is that these workers are being prioritised over colleagues who have worked for years under similarly trying conditions, sometimes facing thankless relatives in court over no-win decisions.

Remember those nurses and doctors who have fought desperately to save or even just extend the life of a cancer patient so that a young mother could have more time with her children or a parent could live long enough to attend the wedding of a son or daughter.

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I don’t like the present way in which the word ‘hero’ is being bandied about so liberally but there is one group I do think deserve it, the staff who work in our hospices.

For them there can know longer be the comfort that we might be able to save this life if things go the way we hope they will. No, there is only one end and all they can do is make that end as peaceful and dignified as possible for the patient and family — and they do. As for those working in the Children’s Hospice, I don’t even want to go there.

Then we have various proposals for a memorial to the victims of Covid-19. I doubt that many relatives of someone who has died of Covid believe that that relative deserves to be remembered nationally over someone, perhaps a young person, who suffered a non Covid death in the same hospital at the same time.

Of course the relatives of those who suffered a Covid death deserve our sympathy but so do the relatives of the hundreds of thousands who died of other causes, not only in the same time frame but it years past and future.

James Tinneny, Londonderry

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