Feature: Turkish doctor fighting COVID-19 gains new perception of life

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 28, 2020
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by Burak Akinci

ANKARA, June 27 (Xinhua) -- After fighting the COVID-19 outbreak wholeheartedly for nearly four months, a Turkish virologist has much to say about the disease and her new perception of life.

"It's like all of us in this hospital have survived a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, something we have never experienced before. This outbreak has changed my perception of life," Gule Cinar, a Turkish specialist on infectious diseases from the Ibni Sina University Hospital told Xinhua in Ankara.

Taking calls now and then between conversations, the 40-year-old doctor explained in her office that she now understood how to better cherish life and how important it is to help people in need of care.

Along with other institutions, her hospital was at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic that killed over 5,000 people in Turkey, one of the worst-hit countries in the Middle East with over 195, 000 confirmed cases.

Cinar said the unknown features of the novel coronavirus were particularly challenging for the medical workers, pushing everyone to learn a lot about the deadly virus on a daily basis.

"We had to deal with something that we didn't know and the information pollution regarding the virus really didn't help, it only made the medical people and patients more apprehensive and anxious," she said.

Several of her panicked patients escaped from their quarantined wards, but ended up being brought back by the police. "We had a patient who fled three times in a row, even when there was a policeman at the entrance," she said, highlighting the non-medical problems that doctors and nurses have had to deal with during the crisis.

The outbreak has affected the life of the single mother, preventing her from seeing her seven-year-old son for over three months.

"Finally I brought my son back home last weekend after he stayed at his grandmother's for a long time. He had been always asking to see me, so I had to explain to him what this virus is," she said.

"I didn't go to see him or my mother so as not to infect them, it was very difficult for me and for them, but at the end it was worth it," she said, adding that the praise she received from the recovered patients made her feel that everything is worthwhile.

The virologist said that every health worker in Turkey and around the world have risked their own health to treat and care for the patients.

"I have a house here in the city, but many colleagues and other health workers have stayed in hotels for several months without seeing their families during the outbreak," she said.

"I became more mentally mature in this period. We all grew up with this pandemic and have become more confident through our daily struggle in the hospital," Cinar noted.

The number of patients in her hospital have gone up in the last two weeks following the government's decision to ease lockdown measures since June 1, and she regrets that some people do not understand what the "new normal" is about.

"The virus is still there and the virulence is still high, everyone has a responsibility to protect himself and others. We all have to abide by the social distancing and hygiene rules," the doctor insisted.

She urged citizens to stay vigilant, warning that otherwise the sacrifices of the doctors would go in vain.

"This outbreak has brutally showed us that our lives are hanging by a thread, so there's no need to waste it," she added. Enditem

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