Making news

Brave doctors head to Da Nang to fight outbreak

As thousands of tourists fled Da Nang after the COVID-19 outbreak sprang up in the central city, dozens of leading doctors went in the opposite direction, towards the danger.

An image of doctors in white protective clothes from Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital and HCM City-based Cho Ray Hospital in Da Nang Hospital touched many people when it was posted and shared on social networking sites on June 28.

“It is a vivid image showing the bravery and silent sacrifices of those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in our country,” Nguyen Hong Nhung, a 31-year-old, living in Hanoi commented.

Le Hai, a Facebooker, said "They are the real heroes in the heart of the people."

Dang Nam, living in Da Nang, who shared the picture and received thousands of likes, said “We treasure and believe in them. With their support, Da Nang will return to be peaceful again soon.”

The photographer was associate Professor Do Duy Cuong, director of National Hospital of Tropical Diseases under Bach Mai Hospital.

Cuong was one of 30 doctors of Bach Mai Hospital who helped control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 after two staff of the hospital contracted SARS-CoV-2 late March and was dispatched to help Da Nang to fight the pandemic on July 26.

After Vietnam confirmed its 416th patient when a 57-year-old man in Da Nang tested positive for coronavirus without a clear source of infection on July 25, marking the first case of community transmission in Vietnam in 100 days, Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long ordered doctors from Bach Mai Hospital and Cho Ray Hospital to support Da Nang.

“We received Long’s order at midnight (on July 25) and left for Da Nang very early the next morning," Cuong said.

Pham The Thach, Bach Mai Hospital’s deputy head of the Intensive Care Department, said when he heard the news of patient 416, he was ready to leave for Da Nang, thanks to his experience treating patients in intensive care in Bach Mai Hospital.

“We think the task is both a responsibility and honour,” he said.

“We have a lot of work to do these days in Da Nang, it’s very hard but we have gotten used to the high pressure of work, so it's no problem,” he added.

Da Nang has recorded hundreds of infections cases, with eight deaths. The city has put three major hospitals - the General Hospital, the C Hospital and Cardiovascular Centre under lockdown.

“We understand the situation. We understand the anxiety of our colleagues in the three lockdown hospitals. We already experienced the feeling when a nurse of Bach Mai Hospital became the 86th patient in March. We want to help them as much as we can," Cuong said.

Cuong said with the supports of Bach Mai Hospital’s doctors, Da Nang was turning the city’s Lung Hospital into a treatment facility for COVID-19 patients.

It would reduce the workload for Da Nang City's three major hospitals that had been locked down, he said.

For an outbreak in a hospital, quarantining scientifically and effectively was extremely important, he said.

The published list of COVID-19 cases in Da Nang City was mostly the hospitals’ patients, patients’ relatives and health workers, showing the central-level doctors' advice and support were really timely for Da Nang, he said.

Nguyen Trong Khoa, deputy head of the Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, who also led a team of doctors to help Da Nang said: "We will only leave when Da Nang becomes peaceful as usual."

On July 31, Bach Mai Hospital sent a team of psychosocial experts to Da Nang to encourage the medical staff fighting the pandemic.

In the meantime, nine leading doctors of Cho Ray Hospital were sent to Da Nang on July 25. They include three doctors who helped treat Scotsman Stephen Cameron, or patient 91, who was at one point the country's most seriously ill COVID-19 patient.

Ngo Thi Kim Yen, director of Da Nang City’s Health Department said the city was receiving medical support from many hospitals nationwide, especially from leading doctors who beat back the disease in hotspots like Ha Loi, Son Loi and Bach Mai.

“They have a lot of experience, so they give us more strength and make doctors in Da Nang feel less pressure,” she said./