Newly-Graduated Doctors Asked To Help With Health Crisis

The Public Health Minister has mobilized 144 newly graduated doctors from various provinces to Bangkok to assist health personnel as the capital struggles to cope with a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

On Thursday, authorities organized a welcoming event for the doctors.

The group was made up of doctors specializing in internal medicine, critical care medicine, pulmonary medicine, and infectious diseases. “I would like to say sorry [for calling you to come] and thank you for your help,” Thongchai Kiratihatthayakon, deputy permanent secretary for public health, said during the ceremony.

“Now, Bangkok and the surrounding provinces are in a real crisis, patients are beginning to die at home,” he added.

Dr. Thongchai stated the government did not want Thailand to become the same as Europe last year, where COVID-19 patients were allowed to die at home due to a hospital beds shortage. He also explained why doctors had been selected to be taken to the capital, admitting that the coronavirus outbreak is uncontrollable.

“Some of you might think why it has to be you [to be sent],” Dr. Thongchai stated.

“It is because we really want your help, and your rectors see that you are the best. Now [the outbreak] is not manageable, that’s why we want you all,” he went on. On Thursday, a record 57 coronavirus-related deaths and 5,533 new COVID-19 cases were reported nationwide.

Furthermore, official figures indicate that Bangkok’s hospital system is reaching its capacity limit.

Vajira Hospital, Siriraj Hospital, Thammasat University Hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital, and Mongkutwattana Hospital field hospital do not have ICU beds available to treat patients with severe symptoms. However, all plan to increase the number of beds.

Therefore, more medical personnel are needed to care for patients, Dr. Thongchai said.

He commented that it was the first time that the Public Health Ministry had ordered to mobilize doctors for a special purpose, adding: “If we do not do this, many people will be left to die in their homes.”

“In Thailand, this should not be so, we should not be forced to choose which patient will survive and which one will be left to die,” he stated.

Dr. Thongchai assured that the graduate doctors have gotten jabs against COVID-19 and would receive allowances and remuneration following ministerial regulations.