AUSTIN (KVEO) — In an effort to share frontline workers experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senate candidate MJ Hegar held a virtual press conference along with two healthcare professionals.
During the virtual meeting, Hegar called out politicians in Austin and Washington DC for failing to respond accordingly to the pandemic and letting down frontline workers.
“We need people who can do better,” said Hegar. “The people who have the ability to do something about this are very disconnected from the experience of actual working people.”
To bridge the gap between working people and political candidates, Hegar hosted this press conference with two frontline workers.
The first to speak, Michael Martinez, works as a phlebotomist at Corpus Christi Medical Center – Doctor’s Regional. He stated that several co-workers died from COVID-19.
Martinez affirmed that he contracted COVID-19 and even when he was first showing symptoms, he was forced to come into work. He expressed frustration at management for allowing this.
“The company needs to worry more about the frontlines than the bottom line,” said Martinez.
After Martinez’s testimony, Hegar shared her own experiences as a medical professional and stated that politicians treat frontline workers like they are disposable.
“It’s so frustrating to see people like you and I treated as disposable,” said Hegar. “There’s nothing we can do better for the economy than to get the public health crisis under control.”
Katherine Sanchez, a cancer doctor in Houston, was the next speaker.
She told a story about a cancer patient that was killed by COVID-19. Dr. Sanchez noted that the patient contracted the virus while getting chemothereapy.
“We failed to protect her,” said Sanchez.
She noted that she is frustrated that hospitals have prioritized business over patients.
“My greatest wish is that we use this tragedy as an opportunity to expand healthcare coverage to all Americans,” said Sanchez.
Following Sanchez’s recount, Hegar followed up with more tragic stories of people losing their life to COIVD-19.
Hegar told of a family in the Rio Grande Valley who had to record goodbye messages to the corpses.
Hegar stated that these stories are what drive her to run for U.S. Senate.
“The people that are [in Washington] are failing us and we need people that can do better,” said Hegar.
Lastly, both medical professionals present stated what they would like to see from politicians in regards to their jobs.
Martinez said he wanted an open account of where funds are going for medical professionals. He demands accountability from those in charge.
Sanchez stated that politicians need to listen to healthcare workers for what is going on and what they need. She stated that the lack of national and state response is a “failure” for the people.