Encouraged by her doctors, Alye Gunduz, 93, was released from an Istanbul hospital after recovering from the new coronavirus after 10 days of treatment.
His recovery from the disease – which kills mainly the elderly – has given hope to health workers at Cerrahpasa Medical School Hospital in Istanbul as they fight the epidemic.
“This is promising because patients of this age with chronic conditions are mostly unable to recover because they are most at risk for COVID-19,” said chief physician Zekayi Kutlubay. AFP.
“A 93-year-old woman who comes out of intensive care safely is an inspiration to us and other coronavirus patients at her age. “
Suffering from hypertension, Gunduz, a farmer from Batman, a city in south-eastern Turkey, was taken to hospital on March 31 with complaints of high fever and upset stomach. She was released on Friday.
“I wish everyone a speedy recovery,” said the elderly woman, helped by her grandson.
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Turkey has registered more than 47,000 cases of COVID-19 – which ranks it among the 10 most infected countries in the world. He has recorded more than a thousand deaths and the disease is spreading rapidly.
Faced with an increasing number of cases every day, Turkish health workers work day and night to treat patients.
A doctor has died and more than 600 health workers have been infected to date.
“Everyone works hard as if they were at war,” said Nuri Aydin, rector of the Faculty of Medicine at Cerrahpasa at Istanbul University. AFP to the hospital.
“The atmosphere here is as if it is not a workplace but rather a battlefield. “
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey with around 15 million inhabitants, has become the epicenter of the country’s virus with more than 60% of cases nationwide.
The Cerrahpasa medical school has responded quickly since the epidemic in mid-March, transforming its operating theaters into intensive care units and creating special COVID-19 sections – separating ordinary patients from others infected with the deadly disease.
Doctors are currently treating 210 patients including 30 others in intensive care. A building has been allocated to deal only with medical workers.
Isolated from their own families, some health workers stay in dormitories or hotels to avoid spreading the disease to their loved ones.
“It’s hard to put into words. They are making a superhuman effort, “said Aydin.
“There is no price for the service provided by health workers. They serve humanity. “
Furkan Kurt, a 28-year-old associate doctor, has been away from his parents for four weeks while living in a rented apartment.
“We are taking all protective measures but there is no guarantee that we will not be infected,” he said.
“The only hope we have is the sunny days that we will see. Be hopeful: there is nothing else we can do. “
After being diagnosed with COVID-19, some patients are caught off guard without their cellphones or other personal belongings.
“Saturday (when) I was on duty, we received a patient in the emergency department. He had nothing, neither slippers nor pajamas. We have met their needs and donated our cell phones if necessary, “said chief nurse Merve Pirecioglu.
“When they hear the diagnosis for the first time, patients naturally panic. We tell them it’s nothing to worry about. With healthy eating and morale and respectful isolation rules, this can be overcome. “
Omer Faruk Bilici, 34, a practitioner from another hospital, who caught the coronavirus, came out of Cerrahpasa after 20 days of treatment, including intensive care.
“I know what it’s like to be locked up in a six square meter room,” he said. AFP.
“It scared my other colleagues who are at risk like me. I haven’t seen anyone’s face for 20 days. “
Bilici hopes to resume his duties at the end of his period of quarantine at home.
“I look forward to returning to the field,” he said.
At Cerrahpasa, more than 70 health workers are infected with the coronavirus.
“We have forgotten ourselves, we work day and night to recover our patients,” said associate professor Ilker Inanc Balkan.
“With each patient recovered, we are more motivated. “
Despite the pressure they face, colleagues of chief medical officer Kutlubay organized a surprise 50th anniversary party for him, while respecting the rules of social distancing.
Without blowing out the candles, Kutlubay, wearing a face mask, said, “So be it now, but I hope it will change next year. “