Coronavirus: #StayHome, urge UAE doctors who do 15-hr shifts to beat Covid-19


Coronavirus, #StayHome, urge, UAE doctors,15-hour, shifts, beat, Covid-19,
Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, Specialist Respiratory Medicine, Medeor Hospital Dubai. Supplied photo

Dubai - With over 700,000 infections globally, the crisis has put immense pressure on the medical community.


Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2020, 1:28 AM

The UAE's #StayHome and social distancing advisories are the only way to beat the Covid-19 pandemic, two doctors who treat coronavirus patients have said. Stressing that health workers are putting in 15-hour shifts to help stop the spread of the virus, the doctors appealed to residents to follow guidelines issued by the health authorities.
"Prevent getting infected at all costs; stay home. It doesn't matter if you eat healthy or exercise a lot. The virus only knows that you are a human being," said Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, specialist pulmonologist and respiratory medicine at Medeor Hospital Dubai.
Dr Sainalabdeen and Dr Vishnu Chaitanya Swaroopa Sura, specialist internal medicine at the same hospital, work with the UAE authorities to treat infected patients.
With over 700,000 infections globally, the crisis has put immense pressure on the medical community. The UAE has registered 570 cases so far, but health authorities have assured residents about its advanced medical resources and qualified cadres. All residents have to do is #StayHome as much as possible.
They barely go home
The doctors said medical teams are working an average of 14- 5 hours per day to ensure the community stays safe.

Dr. Vishnu Chaitanya Swaroopa Sura, Specialist Internal Medicine, Medeor Hospital Dubai. Photos by Juidin Bernarrd
Dr Sainalabdeen said: "Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are experiencing more stress. More than academic stress, I am also under some psychological stress. Family members and close friends of infected patients are worried, and we must ensure them that everything will be okay."
The doctor admitted that he was concerned about his family. "I am a husband and a father of two. When I reach home, I cannot speak to them freely. I used to kiss my kids goodnight, and I haven't been able to do that since I've started treating patients," he said.
He added that nurses with newborn babies in his team have not been able to interact or touch their kids.
Dr Sura said: "It is challenging to be in our position as there is no definitive treatment that can entirely kill the virus. However, people should also understand that staying at home and maintaining good hand hygiene are two of the most important prevention methods."
Safety protocols
Dr Sainalabdeen said as per recent studies, everyone is at equal risk. "However, the fatality rate is higher among the elderly population, especially those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, hypertension and people with heart conditions."

Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, Specialist Respiratory Medicine, Medeor Hospital Dubai.
The team treating Covid-patients at Medeor consists of a specialist internal medicine, medical director, hospital director, radiologist, pathologist and a psychologist.
Based on a treatment algorithm provided by the Dubai Health Authority, patients are directly seen by a pulmonologist and nurses. "There is an infection nurse and a support staff team. Each case is discussed by the Covid-19 committee each day," said Dr Sainalabdeen.
The authorities concerned have devised strict protocols for treating patients, including wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
"Each doctor can spend only 15-20 minutes per patient, and it takes approximately 10 minutes to wear the PPE and later remove it. We wash our hands twice - once while taking off the gloves, scrubs and apron, and again after removing the glasses and the mask," added Dr Sura.
The doctors are also seeing their regular patients via telemedicine and maintaining a one- to two-metre distance between patients to ensure safety. Moreover, to keep exposure limited, each mildly infected patient is limited to treatment from one doctor and one nurse.
"In case of severe and critical cases, they are tended to by two to three doctors and nurse," added Dr Sura. "If the patient is oxygen-dependent, then it's 1:1 nurse-doctor ratio per patient," she explained.
Patient profiles
The doctors said the majority of the patients have a travel history to a country with high infection rates. "Either that or they have close contact with a patient who has a travel history to countries with high infection rates," said Dr Sainalabdeen.
He praised the grit some of his patients while undergoing treatment. "All infected patients stay in isolation rooms, and I should give them credit for being able to stay in there as people tend to become phobic. They are also under a lot of psychological stress. However, they can stay in touch with their loved ones using social media," added Dr Sainalabdeen.
Treatment protocol for mild cases
>Mild cases undergo supportive treatment for symptoms.
>Symptoms: Body pain and dry cough
>Medicines: Paracetamol, sore throat gargles and lozenges. Cough suppressants and antihistamines (for cold) are also administered in some cases.
Treatment protocol for severe and critical cases
>Depending on the severity of cases and if the patient is oxygen-dependent, they are placed in intensive care.
> When there isn't enough oxygenation in the blood, the patient has to be put on ventilator as it affects other organs like the brain, heart, liver and kidney.
Earliest symptoms
>80 per cent of the cases have a fever, fatigue, dry cough, myalgia and shortness of breath
>Some patients have gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and vomiting  

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