Romeo Dallaire posts message of support for health-care workers
TORONTO -- Retired Canadian lieutenant-general and senator Romeo Dallaire has posted a message of support and solidarity for health-care workers on social media, reassuring them that although difficult choices are to come, they should trust their instincts.
In three videos posted to his Twitter account Sunday, Dallaire extended his thanks towards those “who are right now, in fact, in the frontlines of our battle against this enemy, … against this terrible virus.”
Speaking directly to first responders and health-care workers, he said that despite the country’s preparations to fight COVID-19, “you will realize, sooner than later, that even with all these efforts, you may not have all the resources you need to achieve the ultimate mission of saving everyone.
“And this will create ethical and moral dilemmas that you will have to face.”
He said that 26 years ago, he “faced also a task that seemed to be maybe — maybe — achievable, but ultimately was totally overwhelming, and in so doing, saw vast numbers of human beings, innocent human beings, being put at risk with very limited resources to be able to intervene.”
Dallaire led the international peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in 1994, and has been hailed for his attempts to stop the genocide that occurred there. He has been open about suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and has worked to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health.
In the Twitter videos posted Sunday, he told health-care workers to trust their instincts and try to avoid punishing themselves for perceived failures.
“You will have to count on your experience, your knowledge, your skills to pull you through these demanding, gut-wrenching decisions of making sure that ultimately the best possible solution is being brought to every human being (who) comes before you in this trying time for us all,” he said.
Dallaire mentioned the health-care workers who have stepped up out of retirement to help, saying he saluted them for bringing a “boost to moral that is absolutely limitless.”
He also called on the families of health-care workers and first responders to keep a close eye on their loved ones working in the medical field right now.
“They will need to communicate,” he said. “Your mandate is to support them. I’ve seen the devastating results when we in the field are abandoned.
“We will get through this,” he said in the final video, adding that although there would be casualties both in the general population and within the ranks of health-care workers, “the experience will provide us the maturity to face whatever other potential pandemic or threat that may come.”
The retired lieutenant-general and senator is 73. He said he is staying “safe and secure” inside his home, honouring the call from health officials for physical distancing. In his speech to health-care workers, he extended the offer of communication to anyone who needs support.
“Do not hesitate to call upon me,” he said.