Worker Correspondents: Houston EMT and ER Technicians Overworked and Unprotected

Photo credit: Godofredo A. Vásquez, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

By Eli Blackhart

Tribune of the People spoke with a healthcare worker in Houston who works as an EMT and Emergency Room (ER) Technician. The medic detailed unsafe working conditions, increased workload, and a lack of support from healthcare companies.

During the peak of the pandemic, the lack of healthcare workers resulted in only one or two medics attending as many calls as they could during a 12-hour shift. The issue of under-staffing has not been improved and workloads remain inconsistent for medics, with workloads changing on a daily basis.

Working conditions for medics are poor, with many struggling to take time off after contracting Covid-19. “Management would not make it easy [to take time off]. They would just be put off shift without sick pay,” the technician told Tribune.

Hospitals are not equipped to adequately handle the large amount of Covid-19 patients. Many hospitals have run out of ICU beds and are treating Covid patients in ER rooms. Medics are expected to travel with these patients for hours at a time in search for ICU beds between various hospitals and departments within hospitals.

Despite the increase in workload and exposure to Covid-19, medics have not received hazard pay. “They think it’s enough to put signs outside of hospitals or give us flowers, but it’s not enough. We need corporations, hospitals and healthcare systems to take care of us,” the technician told Tribune.


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