Physicians on the front line

Thursday, 2020-02-27 17:16:15
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The 73-year-old patient (pink shirt) and dcotors pose for a photo when he is discharged from hospital on February 21 afternoon. (Photo: NDO/Duyen Phan)
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NDO – While the Covid-19 epidemic has witnessed complicated developments in many countries and territories, the epidemic in Vietnam has fundamentally been kept under control. All 16 patients have recovered. The initial success is attributed to the participation of the whole of society with many forces, ministries, branches, authorities at all levels and a large number of people.

There have been important contributions made by medical staff at hospitals as well as those who are conducting works related to health supervision and quarantine at border gates, and scientists who are studying hard in laboratories. They are all considered “soldiers” on the front line.

Those who were in the lobby of the Emergency Department, the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Facility 2) on February 10 all burst into happiness when witnessing the first three patients being discharged from hospital. Receiving beautiful flower bouquets, Mr. T.C.P from Quang Minh commune, Tam Dao district, Vinh Phuc province could not hold back his tears. He was one of the eight members sent by Nihon Plast Vietnam Co., Ltd. to train in Wuhan City (Hubei Province, China). “I recovered from illness and returned to my beloved family. I will never forget the devoted doctors and nurses who took care of me and helped me go through the most difficult time”, he said.

As a new disease, there is not much knowledge surrounding it, so the physicians working at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases had to overcome many difficulties and challenges to handle new cases of infection. Every day, the hospital organised three crews, each crew consisted of a doctor and three nurses. They were not only responsible for the treatment but also participated in research on disease mechanisms, and planned specific treatment regimens for each patient.

On the other hand, because the patients were in quarantine rooms, the physicians must take care of patients with specific tasks such as taking meals, preparing towels, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. Despite many pressures and hardships, they always encouraged each other and were determined to do their best to treat Covid-19 patients, as well as determined to prevent the disease from breaking out.

According to MSc, Second Degree Specialist Nguyen Trung Cap, Head of Emergency Department, the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, difficulties in care and treatment for people infected with Covid-19, was the isolation work and not letting the virus spread outside. The medical staff here also had to face pressure from people subject to isolation, many of them did not really cooperate. Notably, doctors and nurses who participated in the anti-epidemic of Covid-19 work were also isolated from the community, many of whom had not been able to visit their families for two or three weeks. But sadly, there are many of them who have been discriminated against by people around them. Many health workers still have difficulties in renting houses. Many house owners even refused them when they knew that these physicians were being taken care of and treating Covid-19 patients.

Doctors do check ups at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases. (Photo: NDO/Tien Tuan)

One week after Li Ding, a Chinese Covid-19 patient was discharged from hospital, we returned to Cho Ray Hospital. The happiness is still evident on the face of the head of “the first medical facility in Vietnam to successfully cure Covid-19”. Pointing to his phone screen in his hand, Dr. Nguyen Tri Thuc announced that the two Chinese patients had come home, they had just sent a letter to thank doctors of Cho Ray Hospital in particular and Vietnam in general. In the letter, on behalf of his father, Li Zichao affirmed that the Vietnamese doctors treated them with all their hearts to help him and his father. With the Li Zichao family, they will never forget the kindness of the Vietnamese physicians who saved them. Dr. Nguyen Tri Thuc shared the sincere thank you letter and made other physicians at Cho Ray Hospital feel warm and forget all the hardships that they had gone through.

There are three health professionals participating in a special flight to Wuhan to welcome 30 Vietnamese citizens back home. Doctor N.T.H.P. who is working at the National Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, is one of the medical staff present on that flight. Sharing about the short journey abroad but with heavy responsibility, Dr. P. said: “At first, I felt quite worried. But after receiving the mission, attending meetings with the Ministry of Health, the Aviation Department, exchanging with the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and exchanging with everyone in the delegation, I knew the schedule, the transportation process, and protective equipment, etc. So, I felt much more secure.”

Because in the group of citizens, there was an eight-month pregnant woman, Dr. P. prepared for scenarios such as: the pregnant woman giving birth on the plane; or pre-eclampsia, eclampsia; or threatened preterm labour, etc, in order to prepare for necessary medical supplies and medicines. On the other hand, Dr. P. also sought to connect with the pregnant woman to understand the situation, as well as consulted with leading professors and doctors for the best preparation. By careful preparation, the flight to welcome 30 citizens was completed successfully and safely with the contribution of the three white-shirted soldiers.

“Son Loi - Vinh Phuc” became a really hot keyword on the Google, after 0.55 seconds, there were more than 17 million results showing. This is really a “hot spot” in the fight against Covid-19 in the recent time. When identifying that the epidemic could spread here, local authorities decided to localise and isolate the entire commune and strictly controlled all people entering and leaving. In addition to the on-site health force, the Ministry of Health sent a special task group to support the locality 24 hours a day. The working group consisted of leading experts who were divided into preventive, environmental and treatment groups. They specifically instructed health workers at the local level and helped calm people’s nerves at the same time raise their awareness on the fight against the new disease.

An official from the working group shared that there had never been a campaign like this. The work was quite challenging, but they remained calm. It was so busy that for many days, he forgot calling his wife and children at home.

At present, people in Son Loi commune are familiar with each member in the special group because they work without holidays. Every day, the group spread to locations to grasp the situation and apply many urgent professional measures. Together with local health forces, the working group came to each house to do check ups twice per day. “The key point is to create close contact with people, not to scare them or let them avoid health workers because the goal is to strictly quarantine,” another member of the group said.

Many physicians are silently devoted to the goals, ideals, and the path they have chosen. Their devotion deserves the respect of the whole of society.