Medical workers have to cope with immense pressure when they treat coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in Intensive Care Units, and this is causing some in Lebanese hospitals to quit their profession.
In a series of tweets posted on Saturday morning, the head of Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Dr. Firass Abiad, shed light on the heavy emotional and psychological impact that nurses and doctors consistently deal with when working with COVID-19 patients.
“A few days ago, a middle-aged Covid patient in our ICU passed away,” Dr. Abiad tweeted.
“It is hard to lose a patient, but the loss was felt even more by one particular team member, who broke down emotionally and was inconsolable for days. The patient had been admitted for less than two weeks,” he explained.
“Such grief is usually reserved for the loss of a family member or a dear friend. Yet, the reaction from our healthcare workers was not surprising. Looking after a sick patient entails a degree of emotional investment. One not only takes care of, one actually cares for.”
Dr. Abiad stressed that COVID-19 patients in ICU require a huge amount of effort and that many do not do well in spite of that effort.
And after all the staff’s work and emotional investment, the loss of a patient can be devastating for them. Regardless, the staff has to find the internal strength to “move on and start a new journey with another patient.”
However, as Dr. Abiad points out, there are ultimately no guarantees, as statistics show that more than a third of COVID-19 cases in ICU die despite medical workers’ hard work.
As such, the job of ICU staff at the time of the pandemic has proven to be a tough one. In Dr. Abiad’s words: “It is not easy to become numb. Lose, start again, care, help, then maybe lose again. Many times I wonder how they do it.”
On that note, the surgeon and AUB educator mentioned news about some doctors and nurses leaving their profession.
“I am not surprised,” he wrote, adding that healthcare workers are under unbearable stress, and many are “emotionally spent.”
“Most, however, carry their burden in silence and keep giving. We are ever in their debt.”
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