KwaZulu-Natal’s embattled medical fraternity is mourning the loss of three doctors who all succumbed to the virus within a week. According to a Sunday Times Daily report their deaths come as the province struggles with a rise in COVID-19 infections and deaths, making it the country’s current epicentre.
The report says tributes poured in on the SA Doctors United Facebook page for Melmoth's Dr Sihle Mchunu, Durban medical practitioner Dr Irshad Karrim and Dr Avesh Ramnairan, an orthopaedic surgeon at Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre. The Health Workers Heroes Memorial – an initiative that recognises those “who have fallen in the line of duty” – described their deaths as a “national emergency”.
According to the Healthcare Workers Heroes Memorial, Limpopo's Dr Colleen Motale also succumbed to the virus on Sunday.
Durban doctor and founder of SA Doctors United Dr Rinesh Chetty is quoted in Sunday Times Daily as saying that the loss of colleagues and mentors to the virus was taking its toll and becoming “difficult”.
Chetty said the pandemic had augmented every healthcare worker’s daily fears. “Being a healthcare worker in South Africa has always been a mentally and emotionally challenging profession. We are under constant scrutiny and monitoring from our health council, medical aid schemes, media and unhappy patients.
“There was also a massive spike in negative reporting and criticism of healthcare workers often being targeted in my view unfairly, in attempts to create drama.
“It created a dangerous time for any healthcare worker to safely and freely practise their profession. With the introduction of the virus and pandemic, it has added ‘fuel to this fire’ for us.”
Full Sunday Times Daily report