What is happening in Minsk hospitals?
Two doctors told Radio Svaboda what was happening in Minsk hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. They work in different places, have different specialties, and different ages, but the situations they describe are very similar.
“I am sure that there are people with the coronavirus, but you will not find this information in their charts”
A doctor of the Minsk hospital says that their clinic was urgently adapted to the needs of the first and second level contacts. She has been working in this hospital for several years. Schedule - a day in three. Depending on the number of working shifts, the young woman receives from 800 to 1000 rubles of salary. Nobody talked about salary increases, but they had already warned that this year's vacation would have to be postponed.
I have not signed any non-disclosure papers so far. My colleagues are very afraid, but I do not want to disclose myself only because if they fire me, I will not be able to further monitor the situation.
Now our hospital is full, there are about 280 people, all are contacts of the first and second levels. As the nurses told us, there are at least 11 coronavirus positive patients among them, according to tests. Today (March 30 - Radio Svaboda) two patients have been taken somewhere in special boxes. I can’t say it myself, because I haven’t seen any conclusions, and they don’t write this in the charts. They write that either there was a contact, or there is a contact, and they mainly diagnose a respiratory infection, pneumonia, or suspected respiratory infection. The word “coronavirus” is never there. People are locked in the same room, I think they themselves do not know who of them are positive, and who are negative.
They deliver entire families. A girl comes from Latvia, so they bring her, her parents, and a 73-year-old grandfather. Knowing how the virus affects older people, you need to worry about them.
I am sure that there are people who have the coronavirus, but they will not write this in the chart. Take even this case in the 3rd hospital, where a person with a coronavirus was held, and nothing was known, and now he is on the respiratory unit, in severe condition. I believe that they will hide this diagnosis to the last. An ambulance paramedic was also brought to us, he had previously transported the patient from the 3rd hospital.
I don’t have any data on the coronavirus. But two elderly patients died here. One 72-year-old woman came from abroad, and was worried about her symptoms. She was immediately put in the intensive care unit at our hospital, and the next day she died. The reason for death was stated to be a pulmonary edema, and she was hospitalized with pneumonia. It was not stated whether she had been tested for the coronavirus. My colleague wrote that another woman who came from abroad, 84 years old, also died. She was transported to us from another hospital, she was on our respiratory unit. No tests in the chart. But a colleague from the hospital she was treated in said she had two positive coronavirus tests. Both deceased were the first or second level contacts. I am sure that there have been deaths.
We are given the “anti-plague” gear, although in reality it is not “anti-plague”, it’s just a name. And they should not give just one piece per shift, but you wear it until it deteriorates and breaks. Same thing with respirators. They are not enough. I’ve carried a respirator here and should wear it again. But I don’t want to wear it, I don’t know what is on it. I had to buy these suits and respirators myself in order to protect myself at least at my level. In medical stores there is no long-standing gear, we have to buy it in the construction stores.
We have a “dirty” corridor, there are two quartz lamps and two hangers. On those, they supposedly disinfect clothes. But this quartz works 24 hours, and we have ordinary plastic glasses that do not protect against these rays. After the first shift we came out with red eyes and a moderate burn. After all, quartz eats away everything. As a result, you can just lose your eyesight. And another question is how effective is this quartz for disinfection.
I work alone in my place, and no one can replace me. If I asked the manager about this, she would say: “Just drink water three times, visit the toilet two times a day. Not enough? Wear diapers then.” I don’t like it either, I didn’t choose medicine for this.
Why the doctors are silent, I don’t know. Perhaps they are afraid for their jobs. One woman quit, said that she has elderly parents, and she can not afford to work in such conditions. I know that retired health workers also quit because they fear for themselves.
I myself am not afraid to get sick, but I'm afraid to infect my loved ones. All of my personal contacts with my grandmother, uncle, and aunts have been postponed.
Health workers are at risk, and I can’t take the coronavirus test, it’s not possible. They say there is no threat. It is scary that doctors are treated like cattle, like cannon fodder. We must work, but they cannot provide us with the same help as others.
When the mass epidemic begins with old people, then there will be simply not enough respiratory units for everyone. If we take our intensive care unit, we seem to have 36 beds, of which only 19 are equipped with respiratory units. A colleague from the oncology center says that they have about 20 respiratory units, and the hospital there is large. If there were enough respiratory units, then we would have enough protective gear and masks, but this is not true. And all this costs much cheaper than respiratory units.
The usual situation with the coronavirus is as follows: a person arrives from abroad, he has no symptoms or minimal symptoms. And he goes to work, to the store, everywhere. Imagine how many people he can infect due to the fact that our state is slowly taking action. These respiratory infections are dangerous because they have a fan-shaped mode of transmission. Roughly speaking, a man sneezed - and five more are infected, and all this goes further. Often this has an asymptomatic, gradual nature, especially in young people. Without isolation, quarantine measures, all this is rampant.
It is not clear why quarantine is not introduced. Are they afraid of the economic crisis? That everything will collapse? It will collapse anyway here, and so it is a matter of time. But it is impossible to bring the situation to the point when people start dying en masse. From the fact that health authorities hide mortality, people are very careless about this. It is necessary to organize things like they did in Italy, Spain, when people are allowed out only to buy food.
A foreigner comes to us, they take a subscription from him that he will stay home for 14 days. But I’m sure that he won’t do it - he’ll go to a party in Zybitskaya Street, or somewhere else. Everyone thinks: “Ay, everything will be alright with me, it has nothing to do with me, it concerns neighbors, but I’m lucky, I have immunity.” I just really hope that this will pass soon and will not be on such a scale as in other countries. After all, we don’t have such medicine to serve everyone, we won’t be able to cope.
Quarantine and self-isolation are needed. And the cancellation of all events. In the world, the Olympics, the soccer championship, the Eurovision have been postponed, why can't we cancel the parade? They will drive pensioners and veterans there. Whom do we put dust in the eyes, when people get so sick ?! Now everything is repeated, as in May 1986, when happy people came out to the parade, while everything was already so bad.”
“In official reports, mortality from coronavirus can be concealed”
“I hope that this information will help people understand the true state of things,” says a doctor of a Minsk hospital, who, on condition of anonymity, shared with Radio Svaboda relevant information about the situation with the spread and treatment of the coronavirus infection in Minsk.
“People in the intensive care units are dying, 5 hospitals have already been re-profiled to serve the coronavirus patients and contacts. And people go to shopping centers, visit friends, attend parties.
People hide that they were in contact with an infected person. Then it turns out that they have already infected half of the department. Recently, a pregnant woman withheld it, so the whole maternity hospital was closed. There are not enough doctors and nurses. Now those who have not auscultate anyone for more than 10 years treat pneumonia: traumatologists, cardiologists, dermatologists.
There are not enough protective gear, disposable pieces are reused. Masks are worn pro forma, the nose is not closed. They put it in a pocket, then put on again.
There are not enough specialists, and therefore now even one of the ophthalmologists must go and see the coronavirus patients. Doctors are forced to see healthy people at scheduled appointment, and go to visit infected people with the same equipment, which is poorly processed, or not processed at all.
We are shocked because we don’t understand how we can help, but getting infected is very simple. And if a doctor falls ill, then they do not go to quarantine, and not hospitalized, but sent home. They will not let doctors quit, go on vacation at own expense, or go on a sick leave.
Doctors in the hospital were given gauze masks of 4 layers, but they had to be made of 8 layers, so you need to wear 2 masks, wash them at home, iron and wear again. At the same time, the salary has not changed, and they do not pay extra for harmful conditions.
Senior colleagues said that if the coronavirus is confirmed, then in our country they can simply diagnose patients with pneumonia: the people supposedly die not from the coronavirus, but from complications, pneumonia in particular, so that official reports can conceal the mortality from coronavirus.”