Doctors and nurses who continue to care for their fellow citizens in hospitals and medical centers across Iran, are at risk of contracting the coronavirus disease in the absence of adequate protective equipment.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, Iran stood way below the international standards with a severe shortage of physicians, nurses, and medical staff. So, as the outbreak is sweeping across the country, Iran’s doctors and nurses as well as the other medical staff are going through extraordinary pressure.
Describing the plight of medical staff, doctors and nurses, a nurse working at the Hospital of Qazvin said “The medical staff are exhausted … One of our colleagues tested positive yesterday. We are getting sick one after the other and going out of work, leaving the burden of work on others. We may again have a very severe peak. This is serious. All beds have been full since the day I came here; I mean there have never been any vacancies.”
A nurse who works at Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad said, “I haven’t seen my children for 23 days. You should have empathy for us.” (The state-run ROKNA news agency – March 22, 2020)
Dr. Mojgan Abbasslou at Qazvin Medical Sciences Hospital said, “I have slept only three hours in 24 hours. Patients have flooded the hospital’s emergency room. My own and my colleagues’ faces have been bruised due to wearing the mask for many hours.”
Dr. Abbasslou has posted a picture of herself on her personal Instagram page.
Another nurse, Ms. Daneshvar, is now hospitalized in the ICU ward of Valiasr Hospital in Zanjan after a month of hard work to care for coronavirus patients. She has been infected, herself, and her only wish is to see her twins, once again.
Doctors and nurses are going through the hardest time in their career. Many of them are unable to change their protective gowns, because of their scarcity and poor quality. So, they have to keep working for long hours without being able to eat or drink or even using the bathroom, because they have to take off their gowns in order to do so.
Medical sources in Gilan Province said on Friday, March 27, 2020, that two nurses in Astara died of corona virus.
One of the staff of Baqiyatollah Hospital in Tehran said that some 20 to 30 people die every day due to coronavirus infection.
According to the Iran’s Resistance statistics, as of Saturday, March 28, 2020, the death toll in Iran due to coronavirus has exceeded 13,000 in 231 cities.
As pharmacies run short of supplies, black markets thrive
The manager of a pharmacy said, “We have been out of face masks for two weeks. I just stand from morning and nod to every customer. They look into my eyes and say, ‘You’re out of supplies, too? Right.’ They stop asking after I confirm. They leave the pharmacy.”
The manager went on, “Poverty is one side of the coin. The other side is people’s feeling that they are left with no one – that feeling of helplessness. People come into the pharmacy and beg you for a mask. It is loneliness. They’ve come out to the streets by themselves.”
He went on to say, “Once I bought alcohol, then noticed that it was methanol – a toxic alcohol—instead of medicinal alcohol. We bought it once and returned it. Everything is accessible on the black market (but at high prices which people do not have the power to buy).” (Excerpts from a video clip produced by the Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2020)
In a country like Iran where the government controls all media, and journalists face restrictions, many things about the corona outbreak remain unclear.