2021-02-02 07:59:21 | In Pictures: One of Bulgaria’s oldest doctors in virus fight | Gallery News

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Story by: Al Jazeera

Infectious disease specialist Dr Maria Bogoeva was ready to hang up her scrubs and retire from her post in a small provincial hospital in western Bulgaria when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

A year later, the 82-year-old is still on the COVID-19 front line despite her age, one of the oldest doctors known to still be practising in the country.

She is one of a legion of older medics battling “the horror” of the virus in Bulgaria’s overstretched healthcare system.

“My age? I don’t feel it. I want to work. If I see that I am no longer useful, I’ll bow out,” the energetic doctor says.

The European Union’s poorest member state suffers from a severe shortage of medical staff as young medical graduates emigrate to the West in search of better career opportunities.

So Bogoeva says she has little choice but to stay at the bedside of her COVID-19 patients in the municipal hospital in Dupnitsa, 60 kilometres (40 miles) southwest of the capital Sofia.

To sit at home doing nothing in good health at a time when patients need her expertise the most is simply “unthinkable”, she says.

“Was I supposed to let people die? The hospital had no other infection disease specialist, and this amid a healthcare crisis,” the doctor explains.

Many other elderly doctors across Bulgaria have made the same choice over the past year, some at the cost of their own lives.

Bogoeva’s colleague at the Dupnitsa hospital infectious ward, 15 years younger, feared for her health and retired after the first wave of the virus.

See also  2021-02-03 06:01:54 | Coronavirus latest news: A dead patient was left on a ward for hours and another died after a fall at a hospital which has suffered staffing issues during the Covid-19 pandemic.A new report into care at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest in England which has been hit particularly hard by the latest coronavirus wave, has laid bare the impact of the pandemic.A series of Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports highlight how a patient who died was left on a ward for almost five hours and was not transported away due to low staffing levels.In one part of the trust, nurses were caring for up to 17 patients.Inspectors also highlighted issues surrounding infection control after hearing reports of patients without Covid-19 being placed on wards where there were Covid-positive patients.CQC inspectors said deceased patients at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, one of the hospitals run by the trust, were "not always transported from the wards in a timely manner"

But the octogenarian says she is not afraid to stay on, dressed in a simple surgical mask and a blue overcoat that gets disinfected once in a while.

“They forbid me to approach the patients,” the doctor says, standing at the door of the ward.

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Source References: Al Jazeera

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