Since its detection in Wuhan in early December, coronavirus has already taken the lives of 100 doctors and nurses all over the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, front liners make a massive sacrifice by laying their lives on the line just to fight this dreaded virus.
Overwhelming stress on medical front liners
Some of these medical staff have lost their lives in service while fighting COVID-19. In most countries, the ovewhelming number of patients plus the shortage of personal protective equipment play a major factor in the death of doctors and nurses.
Even first-world countries like United States, United Kingdom, France, and Spain, which boasts excellent health care system and state-of-the-art hospitals, crumbled down due to the surge of COVID-19 patients. The death toll is expected to rise in other countries which are unprepared for the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic that started in Wuhan City, Hubei province has already spread in almost all countries all over the globe. To date, COVID-19 has caused 59,140 deaths and 1,131,713 cases according to the Johns Hopkins University count.
In an interview, chief executive officer of the International Council of Nurses Howard Catton said, "We have been concerned for some weeks now about how many nurses and other healthcare staff have become infected with the coronavirus. Nurses around the globe are working under extreme pressure for long hours without breaks and days off, and it is taking its toll."
Places like Italy and Spain, whose infection rates amongst its healthcare providers are 9 and 14%, were raising concers. Due to these extraordinary times when they are burdened with the pressure and expectation, there have been cases when some medical staff took their own lives.
According to Catton, one cause for the rate of infection is the shortage of personal protective equipment. There is a global shortage that is threatening the lives of nurses and doctors, especially since they are in direct contact with the patients which puts them in high risk.
Death count of doctors and nurses who died in service
As of April 4, here are all the doctors and nurses who lost their lives while treating COVID-19 patients. Most cases were reported in Italy, with more than 66 medical staff dead. Earlier on March, COVID-19 left thousands of casualties in Italy during its wake.
In Wuhan city, where the virus originated, 13 doctors and nurses died after contracting the highly-communicable virus. In the UK, France, and Spain, there have been five reported fatalities so far.
Meanwhile in the middle east, 3 medical staff have died in Iran. US, Greece, Poland, Pakistan, and Philippines also suffered their tragic losses.
In the US, Dr. Frank Gabrin, 60, an emergency room doctor, died on Tuesday after catching the virus. He passed away during quarantine and he did not have a new mask due to a PPE shortage. He worked at the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Original whistleblower in China perished due to COVID-19
Dr Li Wenliang, the 34-year old doctor who was the first to reveal the magnitude of COVID-19, was threatened by the Chinese government to withdrew his claims. He died of February 7 after catching the virus.
His death also served as a powerful message for the people. Even before the outbreak turned into an epidemic, Dr Wenliang warned his colleagues about the virus that is taking over Wuhan.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more efforts will be needed to ensure that our medical front liners will get all of the support they require.