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COVID in Poland: Exhausted Providers’ Patience Wears Thin

So far there have been more than 1.17 million COVID cases in Poland, of whom more than 24,000 have died. This is a (translated and edited) post by a colleague of mine, also a paramedic working at our ED.

An appeal to my friends who continue to insist that COVID-19 is a business created by Bill Gates, does not exist, and masks are muzzles in general... I also want it to be a fictional reality. First thing, wearing this equipment is no fun. Second, [your references to] Minions and Monsters and Co. are upsetting. If you want to throw me out of your circles, I won’t cry.

We are here to help people who have entrusted their health to us.

Multispecialist Regional Hospital in Gorzów, Wielkopolski, the only hospital within 100 km of this profile, was designated by Lubuskie province governor as a third-level hospital in the fight against COVID-19 in the region. Third-level (coordinating) hospitals are multispecialist units that provide services to patients with coronavirus. According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, coordinating hospitals have capabilities in internal medicine and infectious disease, general surgery, obstetrics and neonatology, cardiology, intensive care, and orthopedics. The Gorzów hospital has long served not only half our province but also the southern part of the Zachodniopomorskie province.

The presidents, together with the head of the ED mentioned in a previous article, have since the beginning of the pandemic implemented pioneering programs related to prevention, assistance, education, and, naturally, treatment of patients with SARS-CoV-2. They were the first in the area to use the drive-through mobile smear-collection point for patients referred for testing by their general practitioners.

At the beginning of October 2020, Gorzow Hospital was the first to admit coronavirus-infected residents of the Dom Kombatanta (Veteran’s House) Nursing Home in Zielona Gora. The facility’s residents had to be evacuated due to a lack of staff (some were in quarantine, some tested positive)—67 patients nobody wanted to accept. The hospital also ran a broad education campaign with the local government using the slogan The coronavirus is lethal! Behave safely!

This Is Not the End

This is not the end of the battle for health. Our actions, awareness of the dangers, and empathy will determine the future, reinforcing and consolidating rules that can protect us all. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones by applying these principles. The hospital in Gorzow reminds you to wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose, do not touch your face, keep a distance from other people, and disinfect your phone. Applying these rules can significantly contribute to reducing the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and the incidence of COVID-19.

The materials prepared by the Gorzów hospital are available on the websites of all the campaign’s partners, as well as on bulletin boards in the villages and institutions of the municipalities (community centers and libraries), in public transport, and on many billboards.

And, finally, we have our Bergamo, an equivalent to the catastrophically stricken city in Italy.

“This is not an intensive care unit. This is an emergency department. The ICU is full. These people have just arrived and are in terrible condition. This is absolutely constant,” says journalist Stuart Ramsay in reporting showing the overcrowded hospital there.

We heard similar things from Bergamo on the early spring: “This is a huge burden for any healthcare system… We have to reorganize our emergency department and the entire hospital.” It seemed to us to be an abstraction, something distant that would never happen to us and would only be seen on TV from somewhere far away.

We have at the end of October 2020 a lack of space in the hospital emergency ward such that other areas have been converted. We are adapting and rebuilding rooms to save the health and life of patients. Recently the shelter used by ambulances was changed to a COVID ward. It is attended by patients from both provinces.

The hospital board and management and staff of the hospital rescue ward issued an urgent plea:

A dramatic appeal to Gorzow inhabitants and people coming to the hospital emergency ward: The situation is really difficult. There are no places in ED. We save people as we can. We are adapting more rooms to save your health and life. Our paramedics and nurses have already lost their strength, but they are still at work… Our paramedics, nurses, and doctors are on the verge of exhaustion. We have patients from half the province. We ask that if your case does not require immediate medical intervention, think about another solution—maybe the ED is not necessary? Remember when in March and April we applauded the doctors? Today they need our support. Please write words of encouragement to our doctors, nurses, and paramedics. What is most important is that we are all together—together we will overcome all obstacles.

Another appeal was made by our colleague to people who doubt the existence of SARS-CoV-2—with strong words and image, because the time of courtesy, requests, and explanations has passed:

Attention, all the antimaskers, anti-COVIDs, and other brainless people: [expletive] yourself. I invite you for a day in our shoes. There is enough work for everyone. COVID is free for unbelievers… There is enough for everyone. The face may be ugly, but after three hours of working in the suit, it looks as if a tractor has run over it.

And all of us working in the Multispecialist Regional Hospital in Gorzów, Wielkopolski, as well as all over the world, we give you our assurances: We want to and will help you as long as we have the strength.  

Robert Rajtar is paramedic coordinator of the hospital emergency department in Gorzów, Wielkopolski.

Martyna Baraniak is a paramedic at the hospital emergency department in Gorzów, Wielkopolski.

Łukasz Kościukiewicz is a paramedic at the hospital emergency department in Gorzów, Wielkopolski.




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