Dealing with the amount of people leaving wrapped around the hospital aisles on a daily basis makes the job of any healthcare professional more difficult. Especially after hours of trying to revive them. This week, Joinville exceeded the sad mark of a thousand lives lost by Covid-19, according to state data. One day after first death complete a year in the city. It is the municipality with the highest number in Santa Catarina.
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In addition to facing the same way, with the same pain and care that everyone needs to face the health crisis that is devastating the world, physical and emotional fatigue are added. They are present in the lives of those who need to take strength from somewhere to serve each person who enters the health units. The whole day is challenging, without knowing how it will be, what and who they will meet and until what time they will remain there. Whether it will be a day of tears shed for sadness at losing a patient or for happiness after a hospital discharge. Or both at the same time.
Specialization in emergencies and catastrophes has not yet brought the preparation that the daily struggle requires from psychologist Amália Roque de Andrade Lopes, from Hospital Municipal São José.
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We were not prepared to see so many people dying.
She is part of the multidisciplinary team that works on the front lines in the fight against coronavirus. For five years he has been dealing with patients in the ICU and also their families. Only in the latter, the demand has been exacerbated, as she describes. And it seems to be even worse in the first three months of 2021. There are many deaths a day, patients arriving for care in a high level of suffering. Losses are more frequent in families. Including hers, who lost an uncle to Covid-19.
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Between life and death
Amália reported one of the most touching situations she went through and that, to this day, she gets emotional when she remembers. After an ICU patient woke up from sedation, he told her that he felt, at all times, in a pre-death location. As if he were in limbo between the two extremes, but he was pulled into life at all times by health professionals.
– I get emotional when I remember this story. He told me that he could see all the professionals struggling to hold patients on the ground. Trying to grab life to keep it here. He [o paciente] she had seen a recent death, she had seen the body in a cradle. And he said to me: “I saw that doctor cry. The one who knows a lot about his work, who is helping me to recover. I saw this doctor cry. And the feeling I have is that you are between heaven and earth, fighting for these lives to remain ”- she recalls the words spoken by the patient.
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Not only at work, the personal lives of all professionals have changed dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. Care needed to be more than doubled. Returning home has also become a threat, since the possibility of infecting a loved one has come to be extremely considered.
The doctor Igor Oliveira, who has been in the profession since June 2019 and, just over a year ago, on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19 in a public hospital in the city, needs to stay in the unit longer than usual, several times. Between reassessment of patients, consolation to family members, the difficult workload currently extends. And along with it, the value of affection too.
– I learned to value my family even more. They have become gifts that I do not give up. The fear that something will happen to someone close haunts. Knowing what can really happen – considers.
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Incredulity: the greatest fear of professionals
The answer to the question about what scares professionals the most at the moment is unanimous: irresponsible and denialist behavior on the part of society. People disrespecting security measures, holding events or even not believing in what the virus is capable of doing.
– We have so ingrained the idea that the team needs to be responsible for the care, that there is a difficulty in realizing that the team also needs to be cared for. And I am not just referring to administrative issues. I speak of the whole society. It impacts us when we see society not respecting norms. This is a lack of care for health professionals. We are at the limit and we no longer want to see people suffering, dying – highlights Amália.
Igor did not imagine experiencing something of such magnitude in his career. He is surprised by the proportion that the problem has taken and the way it has taken people’s lives, from the oldest to the youngest without comorbidities.
– What scares me the most is to see people’s disbelief in seeing the disease, but to believe in fallacies or unproven methods. Accepting them as dogmas. Stop thinking about the next, simply thinking that something similar would not happen to them or a close family member – scores.
Dark times for health in the future
The future perspective of the scenario, for health professionals, is not the best. If the population is not a protagonist and does not understand the seriousness of the situation, the factors that promote the spread of the disease will also be responsible for the aggravating consequences.
– Honestly, I see dark times for health; collapsing. In half a year, a year, we will pay this debt, which will come with interest for the pain, suffering and longing of those who left – adds the doctor Igor.
Psychologist Amália warns:
– Do not discredit the pandemic, in what it is really capable of doing. Value science. This is a moment of science. It is frustrating for us, health professionals, not being able to help those in need.
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