Frontline workers share their experiences of working during the pandemic as the second wave surges. Picture: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters
Frontline workers share their experiences of working during the pandemic as the second wave surges. Picture: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Frontline workers fear medical errors and mental health amid second wave of Covid-19

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Jan 6, 2021

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The mounting pressure of working in inadequate conditions while trying to help fight a pandemic that has killed over 30 000 people and surpassed a million mark infections, has led to frontline workers telling of their heartbreaking stories on social media.

With the country soon facing its peak in the second wave and government imposing even stricter measures to avoid the spread of the virus, social media has been abuzz with numerous video posts from doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Some of the heart-wrenching videos that have gone viral include those taken in hospitals showing the wheeling of bodies being moved from the hospitals, cries of colleagues as they hold candles ushering their deceased co-worker and friend.

A Cape Town nurse, who cannot be named, said she was frustrated with the ignorance shown by people that “Covid-19 is over or Covid-19 was a giant conspiracy”.

“Because unless you work in healthcare, you won’t know.

“A few minutes drive from the comfort of looking out my window (at home) is consuming as hell to where I have to clock and pretend to survive for the duration of my shift. I arrive at work, and I am assaulted with an overflowing ICU. There is no staff, no beds and definitely no ‘no normal’.

“I am assigned Covid ventilated patients and three Covid patients on high oxygen. This nurse to patient ratio is dangerous, and I am scared,” she writes.

The nurse said daily she feared missing something that could lead to the patient’s deterioration and possible death.

She explained the pressure of not only being a nurse but that she also had to bear the duty of being the family’s eyes, seeing families were unable to visit their relative in hospital.

“Your healthcare workers are either dead or tired. No new healthcare workers have arrived as reinforcements or relievers. It’s still us. Same ones who were fighting since March,” she said.

Another frontline worker, Sylvia Dittmer, also spoke of her frustration on social media.

“This is not a ‘Happy New Year’, it’s a sh*t one because people are irresponsible and selfish.

“I am managing 70 active Covid cases of which 40 are moderate to severe and /or have underlying conditions. These 40 need at least daily follow-up. Six of them are on home oxygen. Please, don’t you realise how serious the situation is?” she wrote.

Gavin Robb, a paramedic with 20 years of experience, wrote about the difficulty of doing his job due to not having sufficient PPE.

“Our PPE started running out, and we were told we might not have enough to protect us. We are healthcare workers, we are essential, we are frontline workers. This is an insult,” he wrote.

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