Salute to Palos Hospital emergency workers

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By Ray Hanania


Ray Hanania

When I was a former, fulltime journalist, one of my responsibilities besides politics was to cover tragedy.

I covered dozens of fires where families and children had been lost to the flames. There were car accidents with grisly scenes of trauma and death, and even a few shootings.

It was tough, especially when I had to ask the families to talk about the family members, especially the children, who were lost. They were reluctant, but I explained this story might be their only remaining public memory to their child or loved one.

That was only a few times a year. I didn’t like to do it. I didn’t like to have to be there and share in the suffering that parents experienced when their kids were killed.

But imagine how much tougher it is to work in a hospital emergency room, dealing with death and tragedy every day, and several times a day?

I had a chance to see this frontline of care when I helped bring an elderly woman who was having serious psychiatric problems, again, and needed her medicine. She was not an easy patient to get to the Emergency Room at Palos Hospital where a team of medical professionals was ready to help her.

She was living in filth, barely eating. She is very poor. When she can get money, she spends it on cigarettes and a daily diet of Subway Sandwiches, the cheapest costing food she could find.

Emergency Room, Wikipedia

Emergency Room, Wikipedia

The emergency responders at Palos Hospital were so courteous, especially as the patient tried to face her fears. It’s not easy to sit on a gurney in an emergency room with your own problems, and listen the screams and crying of others in adjacent treatment rooms. It’s frightening. More tragic is to imagine the death that takes place probably on a daily basis.

For someone with a long history of mental issues, and fighting homelessness, it has to be even more frightening not knowing what will happen, or to be imagining things that are even far worse.

Most of us have experienced a hospital emergency room. We have our own problems and we need help. Sitting there, sometimes you wonder if you are going to be leaving.

I watched as the doctors, nurses and medical staff at Palos Hospital’s emergency room were not only so professional but also so caring. You could feel their genuine concern for the patient, whom they did not know. One of dozens they would see that day and every day.

How do they do it? How do they listen to the pain and suffering day in and day out and not be affected by it all?

I always asked myself if I could maintain my sanity covering fires, car accidents or the aftermath of violence on a daily basis as a reporter. Emergency responders at hospitals like Palos, have to do it all the time.

It was amazing to me.

Take a moment and give thanks to all first responders who help us through our tragedies. Police, Firefighters, and the employees at emergency rooms at Palos Hospital and others including Christ Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Silver Cross Hospital and more.

Thanks to them, truly needy people not only receive the medicine and medical treatment they need, but they also receive it in a respectful and caring manner.

I saw it firsthand. They have my respect.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. Reach him with your stories at [email protected])

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network online news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley).

In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. He hosted a live weekend Radio Show on WLS AM radio from 1980 through 1991, and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM and shows on WSBC AM in Chicago and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate and his column is feature every Sunday in the Saudi Gazette in Saudi Arabia. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His Chicagoland political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News on several Chicagoland blogs including the and

Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]