Coronavirus, the anger of the doctors: “First heroes, now under accusation”


First heroes, now under accusation“. Anger, displeasure and bitterness. It is the feelings that leak from one letter written by 19 doctors of the Emergency Department of San Matteo of Pavia, overwhelmed by a wave of ingratitude that cries out justice for the countless victims of Covid.

From heroes of modern times to “executioners” the step was short. Indeed, very short. Thus, those who until a few weeks ago had been called “ward angels”, acclaimed by the media and on social networks, have now ended up on the dock. “We have experienced fear, sadness, desolation, impotence, we have been called ‘heroes’ … Today we receive calls, reports, exposed in the Prosecutor’s Office … If what we experienced seemed like a nightmare, this epilogue it is even more“, we read in the writing entrusted to the columns de The Province of Pavia.

The letter

One day the virus arrived. Sudden. Unexpected. He slipped into our lives, in our relationships, fed on the air of our lungs and our fears. It struck, like the crazed red marble of a broken pinball machine and did it without criterion, like a curse from which everyone hoped to escape. And while we were all afraid of the monster that was advancing and could have affected each of us and our affections with consequences that we were unaware of, we emergency doctors suddenly found ourselves having to wear double robes. That of human beings (frightened, like everyone else) and that of professionals “dedicated to the human” who were asked to be present, to get on the front line. Including interns. And so we did and suddenly found ourselves immersed in scenarios that we would not have believed possible. We found ourselves inventing a new medicine, looking for continuous solutions to manage the overflow of the sick, dealing with the insufficiency of resources despite the continuous efforts of the organizational system, resources that seemed never enough, so many were the requests . We experienced fear, sadness, desolation, helplessness in what appeared to us to be a nightmare. We have been called heroes, although we have never felt such, because heroes usually discover they have superpowers; we, however, no. Only so many frailties: the fear of being inadequate, of not making it, of collapsing under the weight of sometimes suffocating protective devices, the fear of infecting us and infecting our loved ones. There were those among us who had to isolate themselves, those who fell ill, who, despite the fatigue, remained standing to assist the sick. It was difficult and very difficult. We made mistakes, of course, maybe we weren’t able to guarantee the best but we did our best. We have seen people die without the presence of their loved ones by our side, we have tried to heal as best we could, to inform family members in the chaotic and unstoppable flow of continuous access, to console and to accompany with humanity and dignity when it was not possible to save. Today we receive recalls, reports, exposed in the prosecution; we are called to defend ourselves, to testify, even if only as people informed of the facts. If what we experienced seemed like a nightmare, this epilogue is even more so. It is humiliating, demotivating, frustrating. We could go on strike, create disservices, bring our anger and disappointment to the workplace, but this would be against our ethics which invites us, once again, to be there but with professionalism and humanity. So we will continue to stay in our places, to guarantee the management of emergencies, to do what we do every day with the utmost professionalism and respect for the sick, hoping to receive the same respect in return.
The doctors of the San Matteo Emergency Room “

From ” heroes ” to ” guilty “

The Emergency Department of Pavia was in the front line in the fight against the virus, with peaks of 300 visits per day in the black period, when the hospital of Lodi was overwhelmed by the emergency and Cremona had exhausted the beds. The doctors worked tirelessly, harnessed in insulating suits for 24 hours a day, away from loved ones for weeks. But of their efforts, now that the storm has subsided, nothing remains but a pile of reports in the Prosecutor’s Office. “The change of attitude can be seen on TV, heard, perceived in the squares – explains the director of the emergency department at Corriere della Sera -. It seems that the problem is only to understand who was to blame for so much pain. Now, the complaints do not concern our working group, but it is still disheartening, especially if we think of the efforts made, the energy lavished and also that climate of solidarity, of humanity that had been created “.

Restart from respect

Out of the blue, the doctors of the San Matteo Emergency Department were engulfed in a vortex of anger and despair triggered by the heartbroken family members of the many victims. “Today we only try to identify those responsible – continues Professor Perlini -. I, on the other hand, would like to start from the spontaneous respect that was born of all, from the solidarity of the dark days. We felt a lot of support from those who were out, it was a great help for all of us, doctors, nurses, interns. Let’s not forget about this great lesson that has come to us. There have been many tragedies, unfortunately, I can understand the anger of the families but we are not looking for a culprit at all costs“In the days following the storm, Perlini says he met a patient’s family members:”I met some of them just these days, others had previously come to retrieve effects and documents that had been lost in the caos – concludes the professor -. I saw a wife and two children. Three different stories, three tragedies. They wanted to know what had happened by trying to reconstruct the hospitalization process until the last day. I hope they understood that there was humanity on that path. Let’s start from here. “

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