If you have an opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, it is imperative to do so in order for the population to build herd immunity. The same is true for every other vaccine, for that matter.

That being said, if you do not want to take the vaccine, you’re probably the reason every American needs to take it.

It is important to trust science, and I say that with the understanding that sometimes doctors can be hurtful and ignorant in certain situations. In terms of COVID-19, however, listening to professionals is a matter of life and death for thousands.

In early 2020, I was hospitalized for anorexia. It’s a dangerous and potentially deadly mental illness in which you restrict food to the point where you become physically ill. The treatment I received from my doctors was an unpleasant experience, and if you’ve dealt with eating disorders, it might be triggering for you.

Early in my treatment, my body suffered light convulsions and brief periods of paralysis — common symptoms with my disorder. The lead doctor found me starting to have a panic attack. After helping me stand, he watched me shake in the center of the tile-floored room because he wanted “to see if I would fall.”

I did.

While the illness does not discriminate, a lot of doctors do. The transphobia I observed by some medical professionals was blatant. A doctor who consulted anorexic patients told one patient that “the fact a patient was transgender was caused by his depression and OCD — essentially a symptom of his mental illness.”

A 2015 survey published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that out of 300,000 college students, transgender people were by far the most likely to develop an eating disorder. It’s not hard to understand why that is: The transgender population is heavily targeted and objectified. A 2015 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality reported 47 percent of trans people have experienced harassment due to their

gender. Of the 47 percent,

72 percent of them were sexually harassed.

That is just the start of what the transgender community experiences. In a practice known as “deadnaming,” trans patients’ medical bracelets often show the name they used before their transition.

When you’re called to see a specialist? Deadnamed. When meals are distributed? Deadnamed.

Even for patients whose names were legally changed, sometimes with the full support of their parents, it can seem medical professionals mistreat and disrespect them.

I had one of the better experiences of the people I met while receiving treatment. I was thankful my family’s insurance covered most of what I needed. Other patients who still weren’t eating nearly enough were sent home.

It takes a lot of work to be a doctor, and I respect that, but I have found that many doctors in New Mexico, and outside of it, are disrespectful to patients. I dread having to go, even though my experiences have been relatively mild.

Going to the hospital was necessary, and probably lifesaving, but it was still a nightmare. And due to the American health care system and its biases, there are so many people who have it immeasurably worse.

Emma Meyers is a sophomore at Santa Fe Prep. Contact her at emmawritingacc@gmail.com.

(1) comment

Kathy Fish

I find generalized claims like these to be concerning: "It is important to trust science." Science, as we learned in middle school, is based on trial, error, hypothesis, and the ever-evolving nature of human thought and discovery. History has time and time again proven pre-established "science" wrong, and it's a field that's always changing and growing. We mustn't confuse "science" with "fact" or "truth" - and we must not forget that much of today's science is driven by private enterprise, accumulation of wealth, and PR. As Adam Rutherford states in The Guardian, "Science is complex, hard and important, but it is a system of discovery that is riddled with problems." Claims like "I trust science" just make you seem reductive, simplistic, and ultimately ill-informed.

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