UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic healthcare workers received support and were referred to by many as heroes, but now those frontline workers are saying the way they’re being treated has changed. Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) frontline employees ask the community for kindness and respect as they continue to combat the pandemic, saying they’ve experienced aggression and mistrust over the past year.

“We can’t do it, I mean the job is stressful enough on a good day, let alone when people are being rude, mentally physically,” said ER Nurse, Les Congdon.

Congdon along with other MVHS Healthcare System employees stands together to share their experiences and says there is no reason for this response.

“I’ve had my face scratched up. I’ve had to seek medical attention for it. We do our best,” said Congdon.

In the Emergency Room and on the floor, staff says they are experiencing threats, bullying, and assault. Doctor Avinash Kambhampati explains that there has always been some degree of health care violence.

“…but the escalating levels is something that we’ve never experienced,” said Kambhampati.

Employees from all departments say that the wait times are getting longer because the healthcare system is overwhelmed, and they understand the stress and emotional toll that the pandemic has had on the community, but they are asking the public to be patient.

“We’re not going to be able to provide the appropriate patient care if we don’t feel safe ourselves,” said MVHS Nurse, Christina Tedesco.