The highest number of deaths has occurred in nursing personnel from both Social Security and the Ministry of Health.
The nurse Salvador Ernesto Hernández left the San Miguel Regional Hospital under a shower of applause from his coworkers, as part of the honors for dying in the performance of his job. He worked in the Intensive Care Unit for 10 years, according to his relatives. This intensive care nurse died last Friday at the San Miguel hospital after battling COVID-19 for 15 days.
“Very competent in his qualities, in his work, he had a lot of time in the area, he was very dedicated in caring for patients from the time he arrived at work, very active with a lot of knowledge. We are sorry because it was a good resource “, said Dora Alicia Parada Flores, head of Social Security nurses.
On Saturday morning, one more news mourned the Social Security staff: Nurse Patricia Martínez, who worked at the General Hospital in San Salvador, had also lost the battle against COVID-19. Hours later, the social networks of the health movements reported the death of José Arístides Ramos, who worked as an internist in the Ahuachapán hospital. The three aforementioned deaths add to an estimated 40 deaths of health personnel working on the front line during the pandemic.
“We have had around 40, the deceased so far in the pandemic. Social Security, ISRI, the Minsal, all the health related that in their majority were the ones that gave the source of sustenance of the families ”, regrets Luis Rodríguez, secretary of Conflicts of Sitrasalud.
To this figure is added the death of 25 elements of the National Civil Police (PNC) and more than 600 infected by COVID-19 within the police corporation, in part due to overcrowding. “For these 600 infected police (confirmed) there may be 1,200 infected police, even more”, confirmed Marvin Reyes, of the PNC Police Movement.
Most deaths have occurred in hospitals that have been designated to treat patients with COVID-19 or transfer centers that due to the high demand for patients have become COVID-19 hospitals, without having the necessary equipment and supplies to attend the pandemic , among them the Saldaña hospital, the Zacamil, or the Military.
While in Social Security there are deaths in the Surgical Doctor, the General, on May 1, and the health units of San Jacinto, Ilopango and Ciudad Arce.
In Social Security alone, the Nursing union counts thirteen health employees, including doctors, nurses, laboratory graduates, and motorists who have died doing their jobs. They also report a contagion of eight people in the laboratory of the General Hospital.
We have several positive colleagues, we realize until they are serious through social networks when they request plasma. Unfortunately, it was due to the lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) because initially none of the Social Security centers were going to make centers to serve patients with COVID-19, reports personnel from the institution.
The Ministry of Health presents about 25 employees who have died from the disease and with more infection among its employees. “We have around 900 colleagues among doctors and nurses, laboratory workers, anesthetists, people from the cleaning factor and motorists, between Social Security and what is the Public Health system”, explains Luis Rodríguez, who criticizes that Salud hides the number of personnel affected by the disease due to the lack of adequate protection supplies.
“All health personnel, regardless of whether they are a doctor or an ordinance, need to be given the appropriate protective equipment. There are still Health units and places where there are quite critical patients, and the staff does not even have an N95 mask and we are talking about nurses and doctors ”, Rodríguez denounced.
The Sitrasalud union indicated that it is necessary to establish a better work system for health personnel who are tired of working incessantly for four months.
“There is oversaturation of the work of the staff that is in front of the pandemic without stopping, fatigue is already beginning”, Silvia Navarrete, General Secretary of Sitrasalud insisted. She added that they are forcing health personnel with symptoms of COVID-19 to work, and reported that people with chronic diseases continue to work.
“There are health personnel who are symptomatic, however they do not take tests or Social Security and thus they are forcing them to work. And they only diagnose them with pharyngitis, acute bronchitis or another type of pathology and still have to go to work “, Luis Rodríguez indicated.
The moral burden of deaths and people infected with COVID-19 in the health sector generates fear reactions. “We are seeing intensive care nurses who are having a very high and inadvisable overload in order to care for patients”said Carlos Godínez, who works in the ICU at the Rosales hospital.
He added that hospital care is being given to health personnel and this generates stress for the personnel, both at work and family level.
This generates fear in the rest of the staff because they are seeing that their colleagues are getting sick and then those who die come and these deeply affect the staff and generate mourning, Godínez said.
The intensivist urged the Government to review the protocols, provide the adequate material to its personnel and verify that it is delivered to the health centers that need it most.
He also called on his coworkers to verify and exercise strict vigilance so that adequate processes are followed to avoid contamination by the virus, as well as to prevent risky personnel who do not exercise an essential function in the center of health is exposed to contracting the virus.