Doctor's viral tweet shows the toll the COVID-19 pandemic is taking on health care workers

Dr. Adam Bill Ellen Pompeo
Posted at 9:09 AM, Aug 20, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Many health care workers put on brave faces for their patients. That has been especially true while they're working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, when they have moments alone, many of them break down from the overwhelming pressure the pandemic is putting on them and their colleagues.

Dr. Adam B. Hill is one of those healthcare workers — and he thought it was important to make those vulnerable moments public.

"Hi. I'm a healthcare worker crying at the hospital. It's important to show more of this," Hill tweeted.

In just three days, his tweet garnered more than 12,000 retweets and nearly 100,000 likes.

"It just felt like this exhale of tears, of anxiety, worry, fear of the uncertainty, some anger, a little bit of emotional exhaustion that our wells of empathy that we pour out every day are running dry," Hill said. "I think that it's okay to find ways to release that so other people have permission to know they can share the vulnerable side of themselves too."

Hill is the division chief of pediatric palliative care at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. In his role, he works with young patients who are facing life-limiting illnesses.

When visitor restrictions were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they impacted his patients and their families.

"That was so tough to see and live through," Hill said. "That is heartbreaking to know that through some of the toughest times of their lives, they didn't have their people, their connections, their support network."

Many people saw Hill's tweet and shared the struggles they faced while working in healthcare during the pandemic.

He's received support from thousands of people online, thanks in big part to actor Ellen Pompeo, who retweeted his photo. Pompeo plays Dr. Meredith Grey on the hit show "Grey's Anatomy."

"It was incredibly kind and gracious of her," Hill said. "She's been a huge ally using her platform as an actress in a medical role to bring attention to the medical community. Incredibly grateful to her that she uses her platform in that way."

Along with being in healthcare, Hill is also a husband and father. He's sharing his story, hoping to humanize not only himself but the thousands of other healthcare who need their communities to do their part to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Please consider getting vaccinated and masking so that we can move past this together," he said.

This story was originally published by Cornelius Hocker on Scripps station WRTV in Indianapolis.