Lux­ury Moscow clinic be­comes coro­n­avirus ‘bat­tle­ground’

Kuwait Times - - In­ter­na­tional -

MOSCOW: A small el­derly wo­man lies curled up in bed­sheets with an oxy­gen tube in her nose, cough­ing as doc­tors co­cooned in white suits care for her. In a nearby bed, an el­derly man is on a ven­ti­la­tor. In an­other a wo­man in her 50s lies on her belly to im­prove her oxy­gen sat­u­ra­tion. This is the in­ten­sive care ward at a branch of Moscow’s K+31 pri­vate hos­pi­tal. Un­til a week ago, it was a lux­u­ri­ous pri­vate clinic where you could get a nose job.

Yet as the cap­i­tal shoul­ders the weight of Rus­sia’s virus on­slaught, with more than 26,000 cases, the fa­cil­ity has switched en­tirely to treat­ing coro­n­avirus pa­tients. “There’s not a sin­gle empty bed,” says chief doc­tor Boris Chu­radze. In the state-run hos­pi­tal next door, where 500 pa­tients are be­ing treated, the sit­u­a­tion is the same, he says. He calls the virus fight a “bat­tle­field,” where medics com­bat an in­vis­i­ble en­emy with homi­ci­dal in­ten­tions.

The sit­u­a­tion is set to de­te­ri­o­rate in the next two or three weeks, he warns, pre­dict­ing “midMay will be the ab­so­lute top of the peak.” “I think

we are talk­ing about new cases mul­ti­ply­ing day by day, five or 10-fold.” The burly mid­dle-aged man with curly gin­ger hair from Ge­or­gia came to Rus­sia to study medicine and spe­cial­ized in crit­i­cal care. The virus is a “ma­jor test for the health sys­tem, for Moscow’s medicine,” he says, vow­ing: “We will over­come it.”

Red and green zones

Tens of thou­sands of beds have been made avail­able in Moscow and the re­cent open­ing of large new virus hos­pi­tals “will al­low us to bet­ter over­come this dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion,” Chu­radze said. Yet virus treat­ment at this fa­cil­ity is not ac­ces­si­ble to most Mus­covites. It takes cash-pay­ing pa­tients or those with pri­vate health in­sur­ance and a course of treat­ment costs tens of thou­sands of dol­lars, Chu­radze says.

The pri­vate hos­pi­tal group that owns it, Med­in­vest, also runs a much big­ger coro­n­avirus hos­pi­tal for pub­lic health pa­tients. The en­tire hos­pi­tal, in­clud­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive floors, has been di­vided into “green” or clean and in­fec­tious “red” ar­eas, in­clud­ing lifts. To en­ter the “red zone”, medics put on full per­sonal pro­tec­tion, in­clud­ing gog­gles, hooded white suits, one or more masks, shoe cov­er­ings, and two pairs of gloves, helped by special staff. “It’s an ab­so­lutely new re­al­ity” for medics, Chu­radze said.

Doc­tors are kit­ted out with pro­tec­tive gear but get­ting hold of this equip­ment is a chal­lenge,

Chu­radze says. “It’s a global prob­lem.” “A black mar­ket for per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment has even ap­peared and a lot of peo­ple are mak­ing money from this.” ‘It’s or­di­nary work’ - In the in­ten­sive care unit, doc­tor Sergei Se­valkin is help­ing treat a pa­tient in her late 60s. “We’ve held out a week and now it’s a bit eas­ier,” he says. “We have one pa­tient in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion who was trans­ferred from an­other hos­pi­tal.” Work­ing for hours in a pro­tec­tive suit is one of the hard­est parts of treat­ing virus pa­tients, he says. “Af­ter a shift you feel like rip­ping it off.” —AFP

—AFP

MOSCOW: An am­bu­lance is seen on the ter­ri­tory of a nearly-fin­ished hos­pi­tal for coro­n­avirus pa­tients out­side the vil­lage of Golokhvas­tovo, some 60 kilo­me­ters south­west from the cen­ter of Moscow.

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