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Twin Cities doctor helps launch site to honor health care workers

"I don't want anyone to feel like their daughter, their mom, their sister, their friend was a number."

MINNEAPOLIS — A Twin Cities doctor is helping launch a new website to honor health care workers who died while fighting COVID-19. 

According to the CDC, more than 1,300 U.S. health care workers have died from COVID-19.

But other numbers are higher. 

A report from National Nurses United in September put the number at more than 1,700. While a December report by Kaiser Health News and the Guardian claims more than 2,900 health care workers have died in the pandemic.

"I just realized we were not doing enough to help our medical community," said Dr. Kellie Lease Stecher, a Twin Cities OBGYN.

Stecher teamed up with Dr. Navin Goyal to launch a site called Patient Care Heroes

The newly launched website aims to document pictures, names, and the stories of health care workers who have died during the pandemic. 

"Patient Care Heroes just wants to humanize it," said Goyal. "This is happening. This is real." 

Once the site is in full operation, it also will contain mental health resources for health care workers. Stecher and Goyal say health care personnel, while caring for others, often don't take care of themselves. 

"I think COVID has really brought [health care personnel mental health] to the forefront. I think it's really created a lot of awareness... but these things were always kind of there," Stecher said. "I think these are issues we've always needed to address, we've just chosen not to."

The site will act as a hub for workers and their families as they continue to heal. 

"I don't want anyone to feel like their daughter, their mom, their sister, their friend was a number," Stecher said.

More information about Patient Care Heroes is available here.

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