Medical workers go the extra mile for child COVID-19 patients

July 02, 2021 - 08:30

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors in frontline hospitals have become nannies to take care of child patients.


Pham Thị Thanh Thúy, doctor at HCM City’s Trưng Vương Hospital, is feeding a seven-month-old baby girl. The baby is among 81 infected children under treatment at the hospital. Photo courtesy of Thanh Thúy

HCM CITY — In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, many doctors in frontline hospitals have become nannies to take care of child patients.

Pham Thị Thanh Thúy, a doctor at HCM City’s Trưng Vương Hospital, recently shared a photo showing her in full PPE holding a seven-month-old baby girl in her arms and bottle-feeding her.

The baby girl has been hospitalised for COVID-19 treatment. Her parents and her two-year-old brother are also infected with the coronavirus.

Thúy is among the frontline doctors at the hospital’s Emergency Department. The photo was taken by her colleague. Thúy then posted this picture on her personal Facebook page with the caption: "There is a kindness that brings joy to the giver and the receiver."

Late on June 22, the hospital received three newly infected patients, a father and two children from Bình Tân District’s An Lạc Ward.

The two children were quite small – a two-year-old boy and a seven-month-old baby girl.

The mother was the first to be infected with the virus when she had contact with a previously confirmed case in a local market and spread the disease to her husband and two children. The mother is being treated in intensive care at Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital with severe respiratory failure.

At Trưng Vương Hospital, the father has been supplied with oxygen and is too tired to take care of the children.

Thúy and her colleagues take turns to take care of the children, feeding them, changing diapers, and playing with them during their breaks.

"The baby smiled whenever my colleague held her and teased her: 'What are you doing here, dear? Go home!'" she wrote on her Facebook.

Thúy said the medical team were trying their best to treat the father with the hope that his health would be better and the family would return home soon.

Currently, there are 400 doctors and nurses working in the hospital, 200 of whom directly treat COVID-19 patients. There are 81 children infected with the virus at the hospital.

Nguyễn Nữ Quý Thư, a doctor at the hospital’s Emergency Department, is very young and has no experience in taking care of young children. She has had to learn child care skills to properly care for the little patients.

“I have to ask my colleagues to guide me on how to take care of children, from how to hold them, give them a bath and feed them. We are both doctors and nannies. We love them so much and try to take good care of them,” she told Sức khỏe & Đời sống (Health & Life) newspaper.

“We didn't have much experience, and we were a bit tired in the first days. But we have got used to it. Currently, there are many sources of funding for diapers and milk for babies, so we are not worried about it,” Thư said.

Lê La Ngân Khánh, another doctor of the Emergency Department, said although the hospital received roughly 100 COVID-19 patients every day, doctors have not got much experience with treating infected children.

She said she had learned how to hold the babies and make friends with them so they won't be afraid of her.

“All the children are in stable health and they are very obedient and cooperative with doctors,” she said.

Since Trưng Vương Hospital was converted to a frontline hospital to receive COVID-19 patients, Thúy said this was the first time she had treated a very young child with COVID-19.

Thúy said she was a mother and her baby was less than 10-months-old. She has been away from home and her child for a month and did not know when she would return home.

"I never thought I would have to leave you so quickly and so long. My son, you will be able to walk when we see each other again. I'm sorry that I won't be able to witness your first steps,” she wrote on her Facebook page to her son. VNS