As Daegu is experiencing a severe shortage of doctors amid the spike of new coronavirus patients, physicians in other regions are rushing to the southeastern city to help fight the spread of the deadly virus.
Especially after more than 120 young public health doctors were sent to hospitals and isolation examination rooms to contain the outbreak in Daegu, the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to 2.4 million citizens, many were willing to support them.
“I heard from my colleagues that young doctors were dispatched to Daegu, which is like a warzone now. I felt sorry to send only junior doctors there, so I also volunteered to join them,” an internal medicine specialist in Seoul said. “If we join jour efforts, we will be able to become free from the fear of the new coronavirus.”
More than 30 members of the Daegu Medical Association also decided to join in night shifts to take care of COVID-19 patients after finishing work at their clinics. Lee Seong-gu, president of the association, suspended running his clinic to treat patients at Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center.
“As the number of wards for COVID-19 patients kept rising, we are in short of the medical workforce,” an association official said. “This will be a long-term battle. It’s not going to end in a few days. We will spare our strength and distribute volunteering doctors well.”
He said medical associations in other regions, such as Gwangju, contacted him to offer help. “I felt so grateful and sorry at the same time. In the long term, however, we might need more help from outside,” he said.
With new confirmed cases continuing to surge, hospitals in Daegu were in shortage of face masks, hand sanitizers, blood pressure monitors and thermometers, the official added.
Lee, the association leader, appealed to about 5,700 members to “fulfill their calling” for the citizens.
“Immediately come to isolation examination rooms, Daegu Medical Center, isolated hospitals and emergency rooms. Let’s not expect any reward or any compliment at the moment of crisis. With our blood, sweat, and tears, let’s save the citizens,” Lee emphasized.
The Korean Medical Association said it would discuss the dispatch of doctors to Daegu, such as its number and their work, at a board meeting on Wednesday.
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