Egypt documents: Doctors’ anger escalates with rising infections of health care workers

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While the coronavirus continues to infect doctors and medical personnel in Egypt, the anger of doctors has increased dramatically, leading to a violent crisis between the Doctors Syndicate and the Ministry of Health. During the past few days, new infections have been announced among doctors in a long list of hospitals, including quarantine hospitals that treat patients infected with the coronavirus.

Among those hospitals that have witnessed doctors’ infections are the Cairo University Hospital, Fayoum General Hospital, Benha University Hospitals, Al-Ajmi Model Hospital for quarantine in Alexandria, Al-Zaytoun Specialised Hospital in Cairo, Dikirnis Hospital in Dakahlia, and another private hospital in Alexandria. On Wednesday, the deputy director of Al-Nagela Hospital in Marsa Matrouh, the first designated quarantine hospital in the country, announced that he had contracted the virus.

In addition, three nurses became infected at the Chest Hospital in Beni Suef, one nurse at the Olive Hospital, and an unidentified number of nurses at Benha University Hospital, which led to 30 nurses announcing they were stopping work until protective equipment was provided to them. An official source at Benha University said that 300 CT scans and 300 analyses were conducted for all medical staff in the university’s hospitals, after a number of its members were infected with the virus. But doctors from the Department of Critical Cases at Benha University sent a distress message, through Facebook, accusing the hospital administration of withdrawing the tests of patients suspected of being infected with coronavirus because they were too expensive.

Doctors said this meant that many patients had come out of quarantine, which led to infections among the medical staff. For his part, the head of the university hospital’s board of directors in Benha, Mustafa al-Qadi, admitted that 17 hospital crews and patients at least were infected with the coronavirus after taking samples from 150 people. He pointed to the formation of a university committee to manage the crisis, intending to provide protective masks for medical staff, installing a self-sterilization gate, and allocating the surgical building to isolate infected cases, whether between medical teams or hospital patients.

Observers view these statistics with concern as evidence that the basic methods of protection were not available to doctors, and even to hospitals. Doctors say the spread of coronavirus infection between doctors has shut down entire hospitals.

The General Secretary of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Ehab el-Taher, said that the crisis of doctors in Egypt has become insurmountable because the Ministry of Health officials ignored the syndicate’s appeals and requests to provide the necessary care to protect doctors. El-Taher added that “the number of doctors infected with coronavirus has reached 70 cases so far, according to data from the sub-syndicates in the governorates, while the Ministry of Health refuses to announce it officially.” El-Taher accused the Ministry of Health of ignoring the response to the memorandum presented by the syndicate demanding that it provide the maximum necessary preventive measures to protect medical personnel during their work, and provide the union with the names of the infected to provide the necessary support to them and their families. The Ministry of Health refuses to respond or comment.