COVID-19: Concern Over Psychological Impact On Patients, Health Care Workers

The medical community in Saint Lucia is concerned about the psychological impact of COVID-19 on patients and health care workers as the pandemic continues to impact this country.

“We are seeing, and we saw this with the previous surge, and we have seen this throughout the time that we have been handling COVID, the psychological impact on patients,” Consultant Nephrologist Dr. Merle Clarke explained.

Clarke noted that patients with COVID-19 have to be isolated from family members who cannot visit them in the hospital as part of infection prevention measures.

“So the usual visiting hours at the hospital do not obtain here,” she said, adding that relatives cannot take basic supplies to patients.

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“That is tough on patients and they tell you that every single day as you go in. It is almost said as much as ‘Doc I feel this’ or ‘I’m having trouble with shortness of breath’ or the usual symptoms that you would expect because of COVID-19. So we do want Saint Lucians to understand that the psychological impact is very important,” Clarke stated.

“We can see as a medical community that we have to do a lot more about that, not just for the patients but for ourselves,” she stated.

Clarke observed that some physicians have been dealing with COVID-19 for the past nineteen months.

And she disclosed that the situation continues to take a toll.

“So we would like Saint Lucians to help us to help you. The reality is if we each don’t do our part, it is going to continue. If we don’t get vaccinated, it is going to continue. If we don’t stay home, adhere to the protocols, it is going to continue, and we are human at the end of the day,” Clarke explained.

“The reality is if we get tired, which we are, we are resilient, but we are human, and that is the reality that we have to face that we are not going to be healthy enough to help you,” she declared.

According to figures released Wednesday by the Ministry of Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs, since the beginning of the pandemic, Saint Lucia recorded 12 095 cases of COVID-19, 178 COVID-19 deaths, and 54 COVID-19 related deaths.

There are currently 723 active cases in the country, four of whom have been described as critical while 12 are ‘severely ill’ at the Respiratory Hospital.

At the same time, 36,325 individuals have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, and 30,242 have received the second dose, while 11,897 individuals have received the the first dose and 6,335 individuals have received the double dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Headline photo: Dr. Merle Clarke

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