By JULLIE Y. DAZA
Mysteriously, three doctors in Russia fell to their deaths from a window. “Not part of a sinister plot,” said a colleague, suggesting it was likely a case of extreme exhaustion or depression. (Russia is second to America in the coronavirus toll.) In New York City, a pretty 40-year-old emergency-room doctor committed suicide by “injuring herself” (said her father); she had suffered from weeks of emotional anxiety as she watched COVID-19 patients arriving, dead on arrival at the hospital even before they could be unloaded from their ambulances. One after the other, two Filipino nurses serving in the frontline of different hospitals in the US succumbed to the pandemic. Reported BBC, 56 percent of nurses dying in the UK are Filipinos; PH is their biggest source of nurses.
The picture is grim for our doctors and nurses, their partners and assistants, technicians, sanitation engineers. Will it get any brighter when ECQ is downgraded while economic experts weigh a balance between life and livelihood?
As of May 12, DOH recorded a total of 11,350 infections, 2,067 of them health workers or 18 percent. To WHO, those figures are a “cause for worry.” To the medical profession and the families of our war heroes, the cause is no less than martyrdom. Their loss is our loss, each one irreplaceable. Like fallen soldiers, there will always be someone to take their place in the battlefield, but each deceased health worker means years of learning, preparation, experience, empathy, sacrifice wiped out, nevermore to be refilled and restored to a nation where thousands die each year without seeing a doctor.
A group of doctors who arrived from Wuhan to share their post-epicenter knowledge observed that our workers’ PPE’s were “wrinkled” and overused, and advised that their working hours be cut from eight to four or three hours. Those uncomfortable suits take one hour to put on, and once taken off, may not be used again. One doctora wears adult diapers to forestall the need to step out of her gear each time she has to go to the loo. Surgical masks are another matter, they leave cuts and rashes on the face.
Over all, we are scarred, we are scared, but we have our champions to look up to for strength and fortitude.###