Nurse exasperated over Mexicans’ attitude toward coronavirus

By Marti Quintana

Mexico City, Nov 13 (efe-epa).- Patricia Zavala, a nurse in this capital’s Hospital Juarez de Mexico, has been providing devoted attention to her mother Angelina since she was placed under intubation there more than 24 hours ago.

At the same time, she expressed to Efe her extreme frustration at the attitude of many of her countrymen toward the coronavirus and said she hopes they can finally realize that the pandemic is not a fabrication.

“We’re not actresses!” she said of herself and her colleagues.

Patricia’s warmth and tenderness are readily evident in her efforts to ensure that her mother, who is lying face down and breathing with the aid of a ventilator, is as comfortable as possible.

But she is exasperated on the inside.

Around 100,000 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19 in her homeland and the number of confirmed cases has almost reached the 1 million mark. Although Patricia has not directly treated coronavirus patients over the past several months, she is well aware of the fatigue and powerlessness that her colleagues have endured as the pandemic has spread.

As has occurred at other medical centers since the pandemic began in late February, large numbers of Covid-19 patients at times have stretched Hospital Juarez de Mexico’s resources to the breaking point.

But many people on the street do not seem to be taking the illness seriously.

“We’ve always said, my colleagues and I, (that) we’re not actresses. This really exists and the proof is that the patients are here. They’re dying,” Patricia said Friday with a mixture of anger and sadness in her voice.

Like millions of other people worldwide, Angelina’s condition worsened steadily after she became infected with this deceptively dangerous virus.

“She started out with just (flu-like symptoms),” the nurse said. But after several days her mother started having trouble breathing and had to be moved urgently to a hospital.

Yet despite having Covid-19 patients all around her, Patricia initially did not suspect that her mother had come down with the coronavirus. “She didn’t have the symptoms as such that are closely associated with Covid.”

No one else in her family has contracted the illness – nor exhibited symptoms – and her 70-year-old mother hardly left the house.

“She just lives with my oldest brother, who is the only one who leaves the house. And when he arrives, and before having contact with her, he has a shower,” she said.

Although the use of a ventilator is recommended for patients in critical condition, Angelina was intubated at an earlier stage because she suffered from other comorbidities including hypertension.

“To avoid further deterioration of her lungs they gave us the option (of intubation) before that happened. The idea was to provide that support before her condition got worse,” Zavala said with a note of hope in her voice.

Four other coronavirus patients share a room with Angelina at Hospital Juarez de Mexico. A sixth bed recently became vacant.

Angelina is the only patient who is not upright and awake. The oxygen supplied by the ventilator reaches her lungs via an endotracheal tube, while a monitor reviews her oxygenation level and other parameters.

An intravenous catheter, meanwhile, provides her with “all the infusions,” says an attentive nurse who is caring for Angelina and rattles off a list of names: base solution, tramadol, propofol, midazolam.

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