Turkish healthcare workers mark New Year’s Eve on duty

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Turkish healthcare workers mark New Year’s Eve on duty
Istanbul: A Christmas tree made of surgical gloves decorated the intensive care unit of a pandemic hospital here on New Year’s Eve.

Gloves with New Year’s wishes on were inflated like balloons and attached to the pole of an IV drip.

“Life without distance,” “life without masks,” and “happiness” were among the most catching desires of the healthcare workers in Feriha Oz Emergency Hospital located in the Asian part of Istanbul.

The hospital with a total of 1,008 beds was built in 2020 to treat specifically Covid-19 patients, Xinhua reported.

Sultan Bayindir, an intensive care unit nurse of the hospital, started her 24-hour-shift on Thursday by taking good care of her patients as usual in the D1 ward, where severely ill Covid-19 patients are treated.

“Everyone wants to be with his or her loved ones on special days like New Year’s Eve,” Bayindir told Xinhua while examining the oxygen saturation values of one of her patients. “But we have a mission here, and we are not alone, having our colleagues and patients with us.”

When she goes home, she always washes all her clothes and doesn’t leave her room to protect her mother and father, who are in a risk group due to their ages.

“I even managed not to infect them when I tested positive for Covid-19 with symptoms,” Bayindir added.

Busra Cihan, another nurse in the same ward, has a four-year-old son. Since the start of the pandemic, Cihan’s mother-in-law has been taking care of him to eliminate the risk of contamination.

“I don’t have a problem other than seeing my loved ones less,” Cihan told Xinhua while writing her New Year’s wish on a glove. “But I am sure that when the pandemic will be over, we will return to our good old days.”

Nurettin Yiyit, the chief physician of the hospital, said the healthcare professionals are all fighting against the coronavirus at the forefront very bravely since Covid-19 first erupted in the country in mid-March last year.

“We mostly spent past nine months away from our families to protect them from getting infected with the coronavirus through us,” Yiyit told Xinhua at the hospital along with his crew several hours before the New Year.

In Yiyit’s view, health professionals feel empathy with each patient, sensing all their pains during the entire process.

“In the end, they are all mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters,” he said, noting that they have been trying hard not to send the Covid-19 patients to intensive care units by using all the necessary means.

“During this process, we also gained significant experience,” he continued. “We are now more courageous and we have learned how to be protected. We exactly know how much protection we need at which point.”

So far, 15 per cent of a total of 2,000 healthcare workers of the hospital have been infected with the coronavirus.

“Luckily, they have all got well,” Yiyit added.

The hospital has received over 12,000 Covid-19 patients total with a mortality rate below 1 per cent.

Thanks to the recently adopted series of new measures, including nationwide curfews, the occupancy rate at the hospital dropped to 40 per cent.

On Wednesday, Turkey received 3 million doses of inactive Covid-19 vaccines from the Chinese vaccine producer Sinovac and mass vaccination will start following 14 days of tests, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced.

The country expects to sustain more vaccines from Sinovac in the upcoming period.


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