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Turkish doctors continue to fight COVID-19 pandemic

Turkish doctors continue to fight COVID-19 pandemic

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, working in emergency services has become especially tiresome, according to a Turkish doctor who has been working in the field for 21 years. Rushing to help COVID-19 patients after the pandemic broke out in Turkey in March, Dr. Murat Yılmaz and his team at the emergency service department of Akdeniz University Hospital in the Mediterranean city of Antalya are working devotedly day and night to help their patients.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Tuesday, Yılmaz said that the treatment of intensive care unit patients is very difficult and carries the risk of infection for their caretakers. “I make a great effort to ensure that no nurses, doctors and caregivers get sick while we are treating our patients,” he said. Noting that the procedure of treating COVID-19 patients is different than other diseases, he said that most patients were conscious but could not breathe and stared into their doctor’s eyes pleading for help.

“You use all the means provided by medicine, but you still can’t satisfy the patient’s struggle for breath,” Yilmaz said, adding that once a patient is put on a respiratory device, it is not easy to take them off of it again. He said that some patients stay for two to three months under intensive care, and this may cause problems in terms of bed occupancy as they currently hold 15 intubated patients.

Yılmaz noted that the age average for intubated patients had now fallen to 30-40 years old.

Stressing that medical professionals went through tough times both psychologically and sociologically, Yılmaz said there were times they could not go back home. “I have a daughter and a son. The moment I enter the door, my wife puts me under quarantine,” he said, adding that he always sits alone in the living room. “I have not been able to kiss my 14-year-old daughter for months,” Yılmaz said. He said if people complied with social distance, wore masks and followed hygiene rules, the situation would not worsen.