Romanian doctors utter a ‘cry of despair’ amid the wave
Romanian doctors sent an open letter titled “A Cry of Despair” as the country’s overwhelmed and deteriorating health care system copes with an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
The Bucharest College of Physicians, a non-governmental organization representing physicians in Romaniacapital, said in a letter to Romanians that the medical system has “reached its limit” and that low vaccination rates they reveal a “lack of trust” between doctors and the population.
“We are desperate because every day we lose hundreds of patients who die in Romanian hospitals,” the letter says.
“We are desperate, because unfortunately we have heard too many times: I cannot breathe … I am not vaccinated.”
Romania, a country of 19 million inhabitants, is the European Union member nation with the second least vaccinated population against COVID-19.
Only 34 percent of its adults are fully vaccinated, compared to an EU average of 74 percent.
On Tuesday, Romania reported daily pandemic records of nearly 17,000 new confirmed cases and 442 deaths.
Data from health authorities indicate that more than 90 percent of coronavirus patients who died last week were not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Every day we witness tragedies: dying patients, suffering families, doctors who have reached the limit of their powers,” reads the letter from the Bucharest doctors.
Pressure on hospitals led Romanian officials last week to suspend non-emergency medical procedures for 30 days and to ask the EU for help.
Janez Lenarcic, the EU commissioner for crisis management, said last week that the EU would send 250 oxygen concentrators to Romania, which on Tuesday received 5,200 doses of monoclonal antibodies from Italy.
Several dozen COVID-19 patients will also be sent to intensive care units in Hungary this week.
Dragos Zaharia, a primary care physician at the Marius Nasta Pulmonology Institute in Bucharest, believes that the Romanian authorities should have recruited a “famous person” to lead the country’s vaccination campaign.
“Only anonymous guys are leading this fight,” Zaharia told The Associated Press. “It is heartbreaking for us to know that many of those who died could have lived if they had been vaccinated.”