June 15, 2021


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Midnight screams of male ICU nurses

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Hanoi“50 patients! 50 patients! Fight to the end! Fight to the end”, the screams of the male tropical hospital nurse echoed into the night, making his colleagues feel sad.

Nurse Nguyen Thi Thuong, 36 years old, from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases, told about a male nurse in the Emergency Department. He is a volunteer to bury Covid patients who died when their loved ones could not be around at the moment of death. The man had to scream in the hospital yard to relieve stress when more patients died.

“50 patients! 50 patients! Fight to the end! Fight to the end!”, his scream echoed into the night when the 50th Covid-19 patient (counting from the beginning of the epidemic across the country) died, causing everyone was emotional.

According to Ms. Thuong, the number of deaths is less than 1% of the total number of infections, the doctors have made every effort to save the patient’s life. However, they still feel depressed, more pressured.

“My eyes blurred, I wanted to hug him and cry. The pandemic was too severe,” she said.

“We’ve never had to do so much. The pressure is terrible. The doctor stays up many nights in a row,” said Ms. Thuong, 36 years old, describing the situation of the ICU department, Central Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

There are days up to 25 ventilators, 15 dialysis, 5 people receiving ECMO (extrabody membrane oxygenation). ICU patients are all serious and need comprehensive care from nurses, including body hygiene, oral hygiene, eating, changing diapers, taking medicine, infusion…

Compared with the epidemics in 2020, Ms. Thuong said that the intensity of work has increased by 5-6 times. At the same time last year, the ICU had a maximum of 6 patients, including one ECMO case.

“This is probably the most memorable time of my life,” Thuong said.

She will never forget the times when female colleagues shed tears. “Who can bear to think of a baby crying all night because of thirst for breast milk. Who can’t help but feel sad when both parents rush to the front lines, leaving the child bewildered. Who can peace of mind when the whole family goes to fight the epidemic, leaving the sick mother alone in a 12m2 motel?”, the nurse shared.

Often told, her colleagues only weigh less than 50 kg on average, less than 1m60 tall, feel tired because of the pressure. But they still fight with professional love, duty and responsibility, faith, despite the environment full of risks of virus infection.

“I love those girls,” often expressed.

Nurses of the ICU, Hospital for Tropical Diseases took advantage of the sleep during a night shift at the end of May. Photo: Provided by the hospital..

But there is also joy in the front line against the epidemic. Usually, a group of two doctors and two nurses from the ICU department performed bronchoscopy for two critically ill Covid-19 patients, including an ECMO patient, on June 9.

This is a Covid-19 treatment technique that was performed at the hospital’s diagnostic imaging department in the past. Now, the ICU can do it on its own without moving the patient out of the facility. This technique helps to aspirate sputum stagnant in the bronchi of patients with severe pneumonia, run ECMO, free the bronchi to avoid inflammation and help the lungs to breathe.

“The joy was evident on the doctor’s face when he clearly saw the image of each patient’s bronchi, alveoli, where nCoV is concentrated like a battlefield. Many ‘nCoV uncles’ today will have to cry. due to being caught up in the suction line of the endoscope”, she said.

According to Ms. Thuong, The hardships of ICU doctors and nurses are just a small corner of the common hardship to fight Covid-19.

“Here, we only know how to do our best, dedicate ourselves to saving critical cases and have done it. For us, that is the most meaningful thing in this life.”

ICU doctor performs bronchoscopy for ECMO patients, June 9.  Photo: BVCC.

ICU doctor performs bronchoscopy for ECMO patients, June 9. Photo: Provided by the hospital.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and many countries have studied the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health of frontline health workers. Accordingly, studies of medical teams in China, Canada and Italy who have treated Covid-19 patients have shown a spike in rates of anxiety, depression and insomnia.

In the UK, more than 40% of doctors have a mental health problem, figures from an October 2020 Medical Association survey. According to a study published in the September 2020 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry, at a hospital in New York, 64% of nurses were acutely exhausted, 53% had signs of depression, and 40% were anxious.

The WHO says Covid-19 has had a greater impact on lives and trauma than World War II, highlighting health care workers as one of the most vulnerable groups.


New strains of nCoV have spread pathogens faster than before. Doctors have to race against the infection rate of hundreds of cases a day. To support frontline forces, individuals and businesses can accompany VnExpress newspaper in the program “Powering the epidemic center”. See details here.


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