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Covid-19: Frontline doctors continue PPE fight

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 02 June 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2188

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Rapid Response:

Carry on Doctor

Dear Editor
Carry on Doctor
Carry on Doctor… Keep going…
No matter! PPE…no PPE … still doing...
endless hours of work...not so far!...
Praying for you to stay alive…
or even sadly, if not survive…
Our superhero… still you are! …
The portrayal of doctors as ‘heroes’ impose moral, emotional and psychological pressure on them to act like heroes, to take risks they never imagine to take, to strive longer hours without breaks, and work without the right personal protection equipment (PPE). (1)
Worldwide, thousands of doctors got infected with Coronavirus, and hundreds of them have reportedly died of COVID-19. For other health care workers, the picture is gloomier with tens of thousands got the infection and many have died. (2)
Health-care workers have also experienced harassment, violence and discrimination in their communities, many have been even forced to move away from their homes, or sadly, physically attacked. (3)
Are they expected, as deemed to be in frontline, to go over the top and face a barrage of virus load, without adequate protection, as the administrators yell that supplies are on their way?
Self-sacrifice may be seen in Shakespearean dramas or epic films, but should not be the practice of frontline healthcare workers. Without the proper PPE, this self-sacrifice is certainly not what the public, the government, our families, or even ourselves expect us to do. (1)
Uncertainty has emerged from the dearth of concrete guidance for the clinicians to conciliate their legal responsibilities with personal health and safety concerns. (4) Changes in guidelines should be communicated to the public and frontline healthcare workers, , with transparency and honesty, and without political twiddle or uncertainty. There is a global effort to prevail over this crisis by combining the most effective utilization of the existing PPE in conjunction with innovative strategies to produce more supplies. (5) Until then, many parts of the world are anxiously awaiting!.

Hassan Chamsi-Pasha, FRCP, FACC. Cardiac department, King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia. (
Majed Chamsi-Pasha, MBBS, SBIM, Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia.

1. D'Cruz L. PPE or not PPE - that is the question. Br Dent J. 2020;228(10):753‐754. doi:10.1038/s41415-020-1639-y
2. Amon JJ. Human rights protections are needed alongside PPE for health-care workers responding to COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 25]. Lancet Glob Health. 2020; S2214-109X(20)30252-7. doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30252-7
3. Semple K. “Afraid to be a nurse”: health workers under attack. The New York Times. April 27, 2020. (accessed June 6, 2020).
4. Coghlan N, Archard D, Sipanoun P, Hayes T, Baharlo B. COVID-19: Legal implications for critical care [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 23]. Anaesthesia. 2020;10.1111/anae.15147. doi:10.1111/anae.15147
5. Jessop ZM, Dobbs TD, Ali SR, et al. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Surgeons during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review of Availability, Usage, and Rationing [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 12]. Br J Surg. 2020;10.1002/bjs.11750. doi:10.1002/bjs.11750

Competing interests: No competing interests

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 June 2020
Hassan Chamsi-Pasha
Consultant cardiologist
Majed Chamsi-Pasha
King Fahd Armed Forces Hospital
Jeddah Saudi-Arabia