Pandemic, a lesson we fail to learn

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Prof. dr. doc. Alexandru-Vladimir Ciurea, Member A.O.Ș.R.

As I have written elsewhere, this pandemic has taken humanity by surprise and forced it to react quickly. For us, the situation was worse because the reaction of the authority was confused, hesitant, much delayed compared to other countries. The pandemic was and still is an x-ray of our functioning, from the level of the individual to the level of the state, and it has shown us and still shows us the weaknesses, the lack of preparedness and the lack of trust people have in state institutions.


In the pandemic, the medical system was full of heroes.
But this only shows the dedication of the doctors and health staff. And the relationship between medical heroism and health system functionality is inversely proportional. I mean, a successful system does not produce heroes. Only a poor, unprepared one can turn doctors and nurses into heroes.

I am repeating an idea I put forward in a recently published book: “Romania without a mask. False pandemic treatise” (written in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Adrian Restian and writer and publicist Tudor Artenie and published by Mediafax). “Doctors and medical staff chose to work in this field, no one forced them to do so. Their training is long and complex. They are professionals, and most of them combine their profession with their vocation. But the practice of the profession is dependent on many factors related to health management, public policies in the field, the material endowment of hospitals, the organization of institutions that make up the system. The list of ‘dependencies’ outside the practice of medicine is very long, and there is no shortage of obligations to keep abreast of developments around the world and research.”

The dependence of the medical system on the state has created oddities in Romania
And I say this with great …gentleness. Indeed, the European model of health development is one of linking health to the state in terms of what we define as solidarity. I think it is the most appropriate solution for these times. The administration of the system is a function of the state. But proper administration requires competence and honesty. Unfortunately, we have been and still are tributary to a perfectly feudal, politically controlled management.

The consequences of poor management were seen immediately
If you remember, at the beginning of the pandemic hospitals (not all of them, fortunately!) became hotbeds of infection. How was it possible? The answer is simple: the pandemic has found fertile ground in the medical system because it has not been prepared. The hospitals lacked protective materials, as well as information about the organisation of the hospitals, from access corridors to inefficiencies in communication with other units where cases had been registered. Remember the collapse of the Suceava County Emergency Hospital, which was put under military command? WHY?
Some rhetorical questions?

What would it be like to have everything we need? What would it have been like if the County Public Health Directorates had been trained?What would it have been like if all the DSPs in the country had been run properly by specialists in health organisation, not by politicians! What if we had contingency plans for pandemics or wars? If only we knew how to sort out hospitals and build field hospitals quickly? And, above all, what would it have been like if there were only professionals on all decision-making levels?

How do we fight wave 5?
The health system seems better organised. But we still don’t have enough beds in the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Units. We have learned to work with COVID-19 cases, but have abandoned patients with other chronic diseases. In other words: we took from one side to cover the gap in another. I mumbled. And I don’t know if the authorities have understood that the healthcare system must be prepared for a crisis at all times. That the system must be dynamic, alert, flexible and responsive, whatever the reason for the crisis. What if a war starts and we’re affected?

Let me quote from the same book: “All governments have brutally intervened in the functioning of health institutions by putting political clients in decision-making positions. In some cases, the political clients were qualified people. But in many other situations, appointments to management positions were made solely on the basis of party card.” Has anything changed?

But what about us, us humans? We have gained experience and seem to have become accustomed to it, although habit in our situation can be dangerous. At the beginning of the pandemic, Romania was in one of the last places for soap consumption. I haven’t seen newer stats, but I want to believe we’re no longer in that place. What about the rules, have we learned them? I’m afraid to say yes!
Refusal to vaccinate is another issue to reflect on.

The pandemic has shown us that we have a lot of work to do in order to be coherent and reliable in crisis situations. And that we also have a responsibility, not just the state or the medical system.

Beyond wearing a mask, washing your hands or keeping a physical distance, even if vaccination is not mandatory (nor should it be!), vaccination is our responsibility. And if we don’t want to get vaccinated because Bill Gates is planting chips in our bodies, we can do it by thinking of those around us. And if we don’t care about the people on the street, on the bus or in the theatre, maybe we care about our children, our parents or our grandparents.

Science has shown that older people are more vulnerable to the coronavirus. They get sicker than young people. Many have chronic conditions, comorbidities. How do you go home to your parents without being vaccinated? How can you not take them to get vaccinated? But, the puppy we take with two hands to the vaccination… How do people without book science manage to convince by stupid Facebook posts that the vaccine is not good? I, for one, don’t understand!

To get out of this pandemic, to overcome wave 5 with as few victims as possible, we need individual responsibility. If the state is wrong, it doesn’t mean we have to be wrong. That is why I strongly recommend that you follow the rules and think twice, on your own or after a discussion with your GP, about getting vaccinated, those of you who haven’t!

I wish you all wisdom and good health!

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