ANTALYA, Turkey 

After the novel coronavirus outbreak, working in emergency services has become tiresome, according to a Turkish professor who has been working there for 21 years.

Rushing to the help of COVID-19 patients after the pandemic broke out in Turkey in March, Dr. Murat Yilmaz and his team at the emergency service at Akdeniz University Hospital in the Mediterranean city of Antalya are working devotedly day and night to cure their patients.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Yilmaz said that the treatment of intensive care unit patients is very difficult and carries the risk of infection for their caretakers.

“I make a great effort to ensure that no nurses, doctors and caregivers at the service gets sick while we are treating our patients,” he said.

Noting that the process in treating COVID-19 patients is different than other diseases, he said the patients were conscious but could not breathe and stared into their doctor’s eyes pleading for help.

“You use all the means provided by medicine, but you still can’t satisfy the patient’s struggle for breath,” Yilmaz said, adding that once a patient was put on a respiratory device, it would not be easy to take them off again.

He said that some patients stay for two to three months under intensive care and this may cause problems in terms of bed occupancy, with 15 intubated patients at their service at the moment.

Yilmaz noted that the age average for intubated patients had now fallen to 30-40 years old.

Psychological effects

Stressing that medical professionals went through tough times both psychologically and sociologically, Yilmaz said there were times they could not go back home.

“I have a daughter and a son. The moment I enter the door, my wife puts me under quarantine,” he said, adding that he always sat alone in the living room.

“I have not been able to kiss my 14-year-old daughter for months,” Yilmaz said.

He said if people complied with social distance, wore masks and followed hygiene rules, the situation would not worsen.

On Monday, Turkey reported 1,716 more cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,225 recoveries.

The country’s overall infection count now stands at 292,878, including 260,058 recoveries, according to the Health Ministry’s data.

The death toll from the pandemic in Turkey rose to 7,119, with 63 new fatalities reported since Sunday.

*Writing by Sena Guler

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