NOTICE: The demonstration in front of the doctor’s home was appalling
It was Thanksgiving in 2020 and Lambton’s medical officer of health was on one of his weekly morning radio calls, providing a “community update” on COVID-19.
I listened with curiosity as host Sue Storr interrupted Dr Sudit Ranade (whom she was interviewing by phone) and asked her to open her front door.
It turns out it was Ranade’s birthday, and the radio station had arranged to deliver cupcakes and balloons to his home, right in the middle of the interview.
âI think his children’s reaction was invaluable because they were the ones who were screaming,â Storr recalls with a laugh.
It was a gesture of thanks for a guy who had been put in the spotlight and tasked with navigating the community through an unprecedented pandemic.
You could hear the gratitude in his voice – a voice that has become a staple for many listening to his briefings, answering questions on all things COVID-19.
âWe just thought, ‘You know what? The guy has been doing a lot of things through COVID-19. Let’s just surprise him with a little something, âStorr said. “I think he was happy to be recognized, but then he was back to work.”
Fast forward to last week, when the scene outside the doctor’s door turned ugly.
A group of around 50 “protesters” armed with placards and voice amplifiers marched down its street and even rang the doorbell at the family home, The Observer reported.
Members of the group told reporters they were angry with children’s vaccines and mask warrants. Most would not give their names.
âHe has a young family,â Storr said. “Do you want to protest? Not on someone’s lawn. There is simply no respect.
During an interview last week, Ranade told me that the protesters had crossed the line of common decency.
âThere are a lot of ways to make your voice heard without making people feel unsafe, and that’s what is happening,â he said. “It is overwhelming for me and all of my family.”
“But I also still have a job to do.”
When asked how he was doing, he admitted, âWe are very tired. We are all stressed out. But that’s everyone, we are no exception.
This sentiment was echoed by Andrew Taylor, general manager of Lambton’s public health services.
âWe have a tremendous workforce; they’re resilient, they’re engaged – but they’re exhausted, âhe said. “There is a lot of fatigue setting in, and we need to be concerned about the mental health and well-being of our own team.”
Between mass vaccinations, contact tracing, commissioning the COVID-19 call center, and tracking the province’s ever-changing policies, “we’re still going seven days a week,” Taylor said. âAnd you can imagine that tension.
âThis is the first time I’ve seen staff quit and leave with over 15 years of experience after saying, ‘I’ve had enough.’
With news of the Omicron variant and even more pressure on the healthcare system looming, Taylor admitted, âThere’s really no light at the end of the tunnel.
“The arc is going to break at some point.”
The days of pot-bang and thank-you may be over, but our healthcare workers haven’t slowed down; they are still in the trenches, working tirelessly to keep the community safe and informed.
Hope they find some peace and rest during this vacation.
And unless you show up with a thank you sign or Christmas carol, avoid their lawn.