Hospital Director suspends doctor for demanding facemasks

Coronavirus is spiking in Venezuela, but doctors lack even the most basic protective gear. Health-care workers make up a quarter of the 300-plus COVID-19 deaths in the country. At a single Zulia hospital, one resident doctor and ten nurses have the virus.

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In Juan de Dios Martinez Hospital, health-care workers have to make do with disinfectants donated by patients, and the drinking water service fails.

By Edwin Urdaneta.

The community doctor, Yenny Urbina, an active worker in the fight against COVID-19 at the Juan de Dios Martínez Hospital, located in the state of Zulia, was suspended for demanding to the hospital provides them with biosecurity implements to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Urbina says conditions at the facility are far from adequate. They work with disinfectants donated by the patients, and the drinking water service fails. She also says she is concerned that a resident doctor and at least ten nurses tested positive for the virus.

You must read Venezuela: 32 doctors have died of coronavirus between June and August

Also, Yenny Urbina says there are three positive patients in the respiratory triage area and one in the labor room. “These are people who are waiting for the results and are isolated. They are all asymptomatic,” she says.

Doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers make up a disproportionate percentage of
343 COVID-19 deaths in Venezuela, which represents a third of the total figures.

On August 25, the specialist spoke by telephone with El Pitazo and expressed her rejection of the measure taken by the director of the health center and the supervisor of Human Talent. In a handwritten text with a wet stamp, they informed her about the suspension.

Urbina claims that the only reason for the management displeasure was that she asked for mask, gloves, boot covers, and soap to deal with patients who arrive with symptoms of COVID-19 from the village of Caja Seca and other areas of the coastal municipality of Zulia. The doctor also requested sterile areas.

“If we don’t take care of ourselves, how are we going to cure the population?” Yenny Urbina asked. She is one of a group of 28 who are on the payroll of the local hospital, where they only receive surgical gowns to the staff to mitigate contagion.

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