Saturday, October 23, 2021

Romanian doctors issue ‘cry of despair’ amid virus escalation

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) – Romanian doctors sent an open letter titled “cry of despair” on Wednesday, as the country’s overwhelmed and deteriorating health care system faces a record-setting increase of coronavirus infections and deaths.

The College of Physicians of Bucharest, an NGO representing doctors in Romania’s capital, said in a letter addressed to Romanians that the medical system had “reached the limit” and that low vaccination rates were a “failure of trust between doctors and the population”. “reveals. .

“We are desperate because every day we lose hundreds of patients dying in Romanian hospitals,” the letter read. “We are desperate, because, unfortunately, we have heard too many times: I can’t breathe. … I haven’t been vaccinated.”

Romania, a country of 19 million people, is a member of the European Union, with the second lowest population vaccinated against COVID-19. Only 34% of its adults are fully vaccinated, compared to the EU average of 74%.

On Tuesday, Romania reported a daily pandemic record of nearly 17,000 new confirmed cases and 442 deaths. Data from health officials indicated that more than 90% of coronavirus patients who died last week were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

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“Every day we see tragedies: patients dying, families suffering, doctors who have reached the end of their powers,” the letter from Bucharest doctors wrote.

Pressure on hospitals prompted Romanian authorities last week to suspend non-emergency medical procedures for 30 days and ask the European Union for help.

EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said last week that the EU would send 250 oxygen concentrators to Romania, which received 5,200 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Italy on Tuesday. Several dozen COVID-19 patients will also be sent to intensive care units in Hungary this week.

Dragos Zaharia, a primary care physician at Bucharest’s Marius Nasta Institute of Pneumology, believes the Romanian authorities should have enlisted a “famous personality” to lead the country’s vaccination campaign.

“Only anonymous people are leading this fight,” Zaharia told the Associated Press. “It’s heartbreaking for us when we know that many of those who died could have survived if they had been vaccinated.”

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This version corrects the reference to the city in the sixth paragraph of Bucharest, not Budapest.

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