Emergency Department (DSU) head Raed Arafat said that the manner of public communication on the COVID-19 pandemic, even within the medical system, has at certain times put enormous pressure on the medical staff, adding that this aspect needs to be analyzed for such pitfalls to be avoided in future similar situations.
“Medical staff working under maximum pressure was a novelty for many of our medical colleagues. Doctors are not used to being criticized day in, day out, including by colleagues from the health system. I mean, as an intensive care worker you put your life on the line and a fellow doctor on TV denies the very existence of the disease. This was something new, no one expected this, no one thought they would live to see this. Doctors don’t take real communication courses, on how to communicate with the media, with people in crisis situations, and this was visible now. Some colleagues preferred not to communicate at all, others did communicate but in a way in which perhaps they didn’t get their message through, and those who tried to communicate became the targets of attacks to silence them,” Raed Arafat told the “Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum” conference today.
The DSU chief also pointed out that the doctors were also confronted with questions about the legality of their actions.
“Notes were sent to certain hospitals that they are being monitored for torture. This implies that automatically the doctors were being considered as potential torturers. Just think about it, no matter how good the intention was, communication was an issue, because the message conveyed was a message of lack of public trust, of lowering public confidence in doctors,” Arafat said, according to Agerpres.
He also raised the subject of individual rights and how far they can go because, he argues, “there must be public health rules that set limits,” meaning that individual rights cannot override the right of the majority, anyway not in the case of communicable diseases.
Arafat also mentioned the need to have doctors of other specialties receive training in intensive care medicine.