Doctors rush to Da Nang to support treatment of COVID-19 patients hinh anh 1

Doctors work in Da Nang city. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Hundreds of health workers from medical facilities and localities across the country have been sent to Da Nang, the country’s current largest coronavirus hotpot, to help the central city in its fight against the pandemic.

They are all elite and experienced doctors and medical workers with high professional qualifications who have gained valuable and considerable experience from periods working at pandemic hotspots across the country.

Pham The Thach was one of 10 doctors of Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital who were 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 SARS-CoV-2 without a clear source of infection on July 25, marking the first case of community transmission in Vietnam in 100 days, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long asked doctors from Bach Mai Hospital and Ho Chi Minh City-based Cho Ray Hospital to support Da Nang.

Thach, deputy head of the Intensive Care Department of the Bach Mai Hospital, said upon hearing about the assigned task, he and his colleagues felt nervous at first.

However, they knew that they must have a strong determination to deal with the pandemic, even though they didn't know how hard the task was, he recalled.

“As soon as we arrived here [Da Nang], we immediately started working together with the Da Nang Department of Health and the Ministry of Health to make plans to lock down the Da Nang Hospital, the Da Nang C Hospital and the Da Nang Orthopedic and Physical Rehabilitation Hospital,” Thach said.

In addition, special treatment facilities were being built for patients in critical conditions, he said.

Doctors rush to Da Nang to support treatment of COVID-19 patients hinh anh 2

Doctor Pham The Thach examines a patient at Hoa Vang Health Centre which later turned into Hoa Vang COVID-19 Treatment Hospital. (Photo: VNA)

The challenge the doctors faced while coping with the outbreak in Da Nang was that the COVID-19 had hit the hospitals. They had to treat a large number of serious patients in a short time and many medical staff also infected. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 rose consecutively because most of them had underlying health conditions such as kidney failure and dialysis.

According to Thach, a big loss at the beginning of the battle was that 1,200 medical staff at the Da Nang Hospital had to be transferred to other hospitals for quarantine.

In parallel with the urgent establishment of field medical facilities, the team of doctors went to survey hospitals in the city to assess how many patients each facility can accommodate to ease the overloading at the Da Nang C Hospital.

It is noteworthy that although Hoa Vang district's Health Centre has a capacity of 200 beds, the recovery room can only treat 20 patients. The lack of equipment was also a problem.

However, with the support of the local forces, on August 4, the Hoa Vang Health Centre had finished renovating its facilities to receive positive cases for treatment.

Doctors rush to Da Nang to support treatment of COVID-19 patients hinh anh 3

Health workers sweat in hot weather during the treatment for COVID-19 patients at the Hoa Vang COVID-19 Treatment Hospital. (Photo: VNA)

Recalling stressful nights on ambulances carrying patients across Hai Van Pass to Hue city, Thach said: “The difficulty seems to reach its peak on days when my colleagues and I have to transfer critically ill patients.”

The trips usually started at 10pm and it took two and a half hours to cross the pass.

Doctors and nurses had to ensure the safety of COVID-19 patients, he said, adding that after transporting the patients to Hue Central Hospital the medical team immediately returned to Da Nang right in the night.

It seemed they had to move every night. However, he said, the hard work and a long distance did not distract the medical team.

“The saddest thing was that we witnessed some COVID-19 patients died as soon as they arrived in Hue city due to their serious underlying health conditions,” Thach said.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son, who directed the COVID-19 pandemic control work in Da Nang, said there was a lot of pressure for medical staff in Da Nang.

“We usually discussed in groups at hospitals in the evening,” he said.

Doctors rush to Da Nang to support treatment of COVID-19 patients hinh anh 4

Nguyen Quang Tuan, Director of the Bach Mai Hospital and its experts at a meeting held right after they arrived in Da Nang. (Photo: VNA)

“On hot summer days, the outdoor temperature was up to 40 degrees Celsius, but medical workers treating COVID-19 patients are not allowed to use air conditioners while wearing tight protective suits,” Thach said.

He said that the joining the fight against COVID-19 was indeed like serving in the army in peacetime.

However, with his experience treating patients in intensive care in the Bach Mai Hospital, those days working in Da Nang gave him more strength to promote their responsibility for the community./.

Doctors rush to Da Nang to support treatment of COVID-19 patients hinh anh 5

The last COVID-19 patient discharged from the Hoa Vang COVID-19 Treatment Hospital on September 23. (Photo: VNA)