Round the clock responsibilities for dedicated medical staff

September 23, 2021 - 08:19

Dr. Đoàn Thị Hoàng Anh will never forget the days in her career when she carried oxygen cylinders on her shoulders at the dead of night to the homes of COVID-19 patients in HCM City.


Dr. Đoàn Thị Hoàng Anh visits a patient's home to provide medicine and health care consultant. — Photo

HCM CITY ­— Dr. Đoàn Thị Hoàng Anh will never forget the days in her career when she carried oxygen cylinders on her shoulders at the dead of night to the homes of COVID-19 patients in HCM City.

Negotiating a maze of tight alleys in an area completely unfamiliar, knowing time is of the essence when delivering the gift of life.

But Hoàng Anh, a doctor of Hà Nội’s National Burns Hospital, has no regrets about opting to travel to HCM City to help fight the pandemic.

She was put in charge of mobile medical station No. 33 in District 7’s Tân Hưng Ward with two medical students from the Military Medical Academy.

They are responsible for supporting and monitoring the health of 33 residential groups with more than 1,000 people in neighbourhood number five.

They take care of about 300 F0 patients in the area during the city’s social distancing period.

The team’s daily tasks are to monitor the health conditions of the F0 patients at home, provide medicine and oxygen cylinders, and carry out community epidemiological control including taking samples for testing and tracing.

In the very first days of her new assignment in a strange place, Dr. Hoàng Anh and the two students were overwhelmed by the dense population in a large area with so many small, zig-zagging alleys that cannot be accessed by cars or even motorbikes.

Getting to the homes was tough enough before they even managed to reach the patients.

“Many times, we had to carry oxygen cylinders on our shoulders and run as fast as possible to approach and save the patients whose houses are at the end of small alley because motorbikes could get to them,” said Hoàng Anh.

But despite being in a strange place, the doctors had to memorise the area and get used to the locality as quickly as possible.

“We had had to memorise almost every street, alley and corner of the neighbourhood,” Hoàng Anh said.

The team have to visit each household to update the health status of those living there. However, with a large population and many COVID positive patients, the medical workers are always overloading with work.

Every day, if there are no emergency calls, Dr. Hoàng Anh and her teammates went to F0 patients to hand over medicine and check their health conditions.

If there are emergency calls, they have to bring oxygen cylinders to provide emergency care for people with severe ailments and consult with specialist doctors for medical advice as well as prepare to transfer patients to hospitals as soon as possible.

“In the peak time, there were dozens of patients needing examinations, first aid, and transfer to hospitals in a day,” the doctor said.

“We always worked from morning until midnight.”

Every day, Dr. Hoàng Anh and the students receive hundreds of emergency calls.

Their personal phones became the hotline number of mobile medical station No.33.

“Our personal numbers became the station’s hotline number receiving hundreds of calls regardless day and night,” Hoàng Anh said.

“Consulting through the night or at dawn was also a familiar thing.”

At these times, Dr. Hoàng Anh and her team not only support physical healthcare but also work as psychologists.

"We received many calls from people informing us they had tested positive by quick tests or concerns of their loved ones in quarantine facilities or just expressing their anxiety, imbalance or insomnia and even anorexia,” she said

“We had to listen, comfort and give them advice.”

After calls throughout the day and night, the health workers at the mobile medical station fell exhausted and longed for familiar surroundings.

But in order to fulfil the mission of saving people, they had to put aside their personal lives.

Hoàng Anh had to send her two little children to her parents’ home in Hà Tĩnh Province to take care of them while she did her duties.

Spending all day and all night wearing protective clothing is also uncomfortable, especially in hot weather.

Despite feeling proud to serve their country in times of need, all the medical staff are longing for the day the pandemic is finally controlled, so they can return home to their families.

“I want the pandemic soon to be controlled so that I could pick up my children and reunite with my husband in Hà Nội,” said the doctor. ­— VNS