Da Nang healthcare workers leave family to resume Covid-19 battle

By Hoang Phuong, Nguyen Dong   July 31, 2020 | 06:34 am PT
Running a fever and coughing, medic Nguyen Thi Duoc calls her husband, saying she is busy at the hospital and cannot come home.

Duoc, 40, works at the Da Nang 115 Emergency Centre, which ferries suspected Covid-19 patients to quarantine facilities. The center also helps reduce the workload of Da Nang General Hospital, one of the city’s three treatment hubs, by transferring patients to other medical facilities.

On July 25, Vietnam confirmed "Patient 416" in Da Nang, ending a 99-days streak of no community transmission. Duoc tested negative and resumed her ambulance duties.

A healthcare worker at Da Nang Emergency Center gets in an ambulance. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

A healthcare worker at Da Nang Emergency Center enters an ambulance. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

Her 39-year-old partner, Tran Van Dam, employed at the 3rd Regional Command of Vietnam People's Navy in Da Nang, had to ask his superiors to allow his two sons, one six and the other ten, to accompany him to work.

The fresh outbreak has affected some provinces and cities, forcing the country's medical system to implement containment measures at the highest level. Vietnam now has 546 Covid-19 patients. Of them, 373 have recovered.

Thousands of doctors have once again joined the battle against the novel coronavirus, leaving their families and loved ones behind.

Duoc is among them.

"When my wife has a free moment, we talk via video call," Dam said. Some nights, their sons wait till midnight for a chance to hear their mother's voice.

"We know we will have to be apart for a long time. Many families are in the same situation," he said.

Medic Dau Thi Dung, 38, is also among those who have left home to combat the latest Covid-19 escalation.

When the new case was confirmed in Da Nang, Dung and her husband said goodbye. While Dung, working at Da Nang Emergency Center, departed for a hospital quarantine center, her husband left for his unit.

Their three children, the oldest ten and the youngest three, are all taken care of by Dung's sister from central Quang Binh Province.

Before the pandemic, Dung worked 15 nights a month while her husband, Trinh Duy Hien, 49, was allowed to come home five days a month. Sometimes, they could spend no more than 3-4 days together.

"I miss them, but my patients need me more," she said, adding she wishes the virus would stop spreading, so she can come home, hug her loved ones and have a good sleep.

Liem stays at Hoangs house to take care of her grandchildren. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phuong.

Liem stays at Hoang's house to care for her grandchildren. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Phuong.

Nguyen Huu Hoang and partner Hoang Thi Xuan Nhat, both working at Da Nang General Hospital, have resorted to Hoang's mother after the hospital entered lockdown.

"Mom, we have to fight this battle, we cannot come home, can you take care of the kids?" Hoang asked his mother, Cao Thi Thanh Liem, on the evening of July 26.

The 60-year-old quickly went to her son's house, where her grandchildren, one 15 and the other seven, were waiting for their parents.

Several hours prior, Hoang and Nhat went to work before the city entered semi-lockdown. Their hospital faces the same circumstance as 2,200 medical staff were told it would be locked down for 14 days.

Around 4,000 patients were lodged at the hospital at the time. Hoang and Nhat, stationed in different departments, cannot leave.

Liem talks to her children at night when they have some free time. Nhat keeps reminding her son to stay inside or wear masks when going outside.

The boy learned to cook and care for his younger sister when his parents were not at home during the last outbreak in March. Nhat's daughter does not cry anymore when not seeing her busy father and mother.

On regular days, whenever receiving a phone call from the hospital, they would leave for work immediately.

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