Pale Horse Pale Rider tells the story of Miranda who miraculously recovers from the Influenza that plagues the world in 1918. However was it actually so miraculous? Miranda’s recovery was in fact due to the health care she received from Dr Hildesheim and Miss Tanner, his devoted nurse.
Just like in the time of the Spanish Flu (a highly contested name discussed in Yaman’s Augmenter’s Post), Covid-19 is at the mercy of its Doctors and Nurses. I found it curious that the Doctor’s name was Hildesheim. Even if the doctor was American through and through, his name indicates that he is from a migrant background. This theory is further confirmed by the fact that Miranda, in the midst of a fever dream suspects the doctor of being a foreign spy.
In was reported by the OECD that foreign doctors have been key assets to combatting the pandemic in many OECD Countries. Migrant health care workers account for up to 60% of the doctors in some countries.
Yet in other nations, health care workers are being banned from entering countries due to visa restrictions despite the fact that there are a shortage of Medical Personnel in certain regions.
We ask ourselves who are the true heroes? In Pale Horse Pale Rider, Miss Tanner is described to be the person who truly brought Miranda back to life after all the other doctors had given up hope (203). It has been reported by the ICN that 1500 nurses have died due to Covid-19 and that there are approximately 20,000 health care worker fatalities. The number of nurses who have died is the same as that of World War I (the time in which Pale Horse Pale Rider is set).
This comparison is quite fitting given the title of this post. During War time we often talk of our fallen heroes, describing the soldiers who died in the War but do we remember our doctors and nurses? There isn’t a World War going on right now yet our ‘frontline warriors’ head in to battle everyday and they deserve the utmost respect and appreciation.
Thanks, Gabi! This is a great reminder of the importance of primary care providers & the fact that many of them are migrants. This has been true historically as well for the people who handle the dead. It’s timely as we settle in to our next reading, with a doctor as protagonist.