STAT September 27, 2021
Gerald E. Harmon

During more than 30 years as a physician and an officer in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, including deployment in Iraq, I have witnessed trauma and battle fatigue up close. I have seen the immense toll that unrelenting physical and emotional stress takes on the minds and bodies of soldiers — people in peak conditioning.

It worried me to see that same fear and exhaustion in young physicians recently as I completed a 100-hour, seven-day teaching rotation in a small community hospital near my home in coastal South Carolina. Fueled by the deadly Delta variant and a low vaccination rate, the fourth wave of the pandemic is punishing my beloved home state, pushing the local health system...

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