Protecting the health of frontline medical workers in COVID-19 pandemic

(VOVWORLD) - Heart-breaking photos of exhausted health workers in Da Nang have gone viral on the Internet. They capture staff members at the Da Nang 115 Emergency Centre and Hoa Minh ward’s health clinic, who have suffered from dehydration, heat stroke, and fainting and received care from their fellow colleagues. Such photos have stirred an urgent need for protecting the health of frontline medical workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Protecting the health of frontline medical workers in COVID-19 pandemic - ảnh 1An ambulance of the 115 Emergency Centre carrying a COVID-19 patient to Hoa Vang field hospital is disinfected.   

Ambulances at the 115 Emergency Centre were on an extremely hectic schedule during the initial days of the COVID-19 second wave outbreak in Da Nang, transferring patients to specialized treatment facilities. Over the last two weeks, 85 members, who were not replaced or added, and 14 ambulances operated at full capacity to deliver COVID-19 patients from Da Nang hospital to Hue and satellite hospitals around the city. They wore protective gear almost 24 hours a day, resulting in dehydration and heat stroke. When someone burned out, they were replaced by another. The ambulance sirens blared restlessly, day after day. 

Doctor Pham Thi Anh Hong, Deputy Director of the Emergency Centre, said all members have been isolated from their families. “The workload of first-aid workers cannot be shared with any other medical units. Therefore, we divided our staff into shifts to protect their health. Each shift lasts for three days and involves 20 people,” said doctor Hong.

After all the patients had been evacuated from the Department of General Internal Medicine of Da Nang hospital and the buildings had been disinfected, all the medical workers in the Department were transferred to a hotel to take a rest in quarantine.

Professor Doctor Dang Cong Lu, Deputy Chief of the Department, told VOV, “Even if one patient remained in the Department, our doctors and nurses had to stay to take care of them. We were only allowed to leave after all the patients received treatment in other specialized units. We took our two-week quarantine to recharge. Everyone is now reenergized enough to continue fighting.”

Hospital 199 under the Ministry of Public Security received 500 patients from Da Nang Hospital and Da Nang C Hospital, dozens of them suffered from kidney failure, and were at high-risk of COVID-19 infection. Eight of them tested positive for the coronavirus. Hospital 199, which used to treat normal patients and quarantine COVID-19 suspects, had to treat COVID-19 patients, too, when major hospitals in Da Nang city were put in lockdown. The management board thoroughly revised the list of its medical workers and changed their schedules, thus, giving them time to rest. The hospital provided three meals a day for all is staff members and patients.

Doctor Nguyen Dang, deputy director of Hospital 199, said, “We are aware that it’s a long way to go until the pandemic is over so it’s essential to protect the health of our healthcare staff. We will provide all major meals, even suppers, for them to maintain their physical and mental health. We will do every thing we can to care for our workers, even if more  is needed.”  

Protecting the health of frontline medical workers in COVID-19 pandemic - ảnh 2 Health worker of the Da Nang C Hospital prepare the meals themselves during lockdown. 

Footage of a doctor at Da Nang C Hospital singing for his patients following an examination to lift their spirits from the distress caused by COVID-19 resurgence was widely circulated online. Doctors comforted patients and also themselves.

To empower the minds of 1,000 workers at rest, Director of Da Nang C Hospital, Doctor Nguyen Trong Thien uploaded an emotion-wrecking letter to the hospital’s local network, encouraging everyone to brave this difficult time. Doctor Thien said, “Every single person in the locked-down hospital has tried all they can. Whenever I had free time, I went to the kitchen to peel fruits, prepare raw ingredients, and cook. Don’t think that this stuff should be done by someone specific. If there is something one can do, please do it, for the hospital and for the patients.”

The tireless efforts of the frontline medical workers are the iron shield protecting all people’s health.


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