Doctor in charge at Kumaka hospital shares his battle with COVID-19


By Isanella Patoir

Healthcare workers are being hailed as heroes around the world as the battle continues against COVID-19. Nurses and doctors are putting their lives at risk everyday while caring for infected patients.

Dr. Derron Moonsammy, the doctor-in-charge at the Kumaka Hospital in Moruca Region One is one of those who contracted COVID-19 while on the job.

He was tested positive for COVID-19 about two weeks ago. The 34-year-old father of one has been working in the medical field since 2013; he started working at the Kumaka Hospital four years ago.

During an interview with the News Room Thursday, Dr Moonsammy explained that he was placed in quarantine after Moruca recorded its first COVID-19 death on May 25, 2020. The patient was 59-year-old Vincent Torres, however, after two negative test results, Dr Moonsammy returned to work.

Dr Derron Moonsammy and a hospital staff

He was working directly with COVID-19 patients and somewhere along the line he took off his mask or maybe forgot to wash his hands.

“The first symptom I had was a pain in my forearm. I had a broken wrist and I felt the pain and was thinking why. Anyhow, I started getting fever-like symptoms but when I checked my temperature it was normal and the night I started getting fever and I felt nauseous.”

Dr Moonsammy also experienced a cough, cold and pain in the back of his eyes.

“I was thinking dengue at first because of the pain in my eyes and body. But the cough and the cold – I said maybe this is COVID-19. I worked with COVID-19 patients and I probably contracted it,” Dr Moonsammy said.

Other symptoms Dr Moonsammy said he experienced included shortness of breath, diarrhea, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, tremors and burning in the nose.

“But these symptoms don’t last, they just come and last a couple seconds maybe a minute and then go away.”

He reasoned that he only experiences these symptoms when he stresses about the situation. He is currently in isolation at the teacher’s quarters in Moruca.

COVID-19 Health workers in Santa Rosa

Moruca as of July 08, 2020 recorded 82 cases of COVID-19, one death and six recoveries.

Dr Moonsammy’s wife was tested negative for the disease. He was retested four days ago but the results came back positive.

“It’s a bit tough being away, being isolated for the time. I knew it would have been a big change for me so I kind of made up my mind and so on but there are days when I am depressed,” Dr Moonsammy said.

Meanwhile, residents of Moruca recently staged a protest against a strict lockdown to protect residents claiming that the lockdown have the ability to severely impact their livelihood.

Dr Moonsammy said when Guyana recorded its first COVID-19 case in March it was only a matter of time for the disease to spread throughout the country if the necessary precautions were not taken.

“Being in a place where a lot of persons move in and out, we tried to do something but persons still came in with it,” Dr Moonsammy stated.

He believes that if more testing is done in Santa Rosa about 80% of the population will test positive. Santa Rosa is the largest populated Amerindian settlement in the country with a population of over 10,000.

“I think a lot more persons are affected that’s my opinion and if we do mass testing you would find a lot more cases and we don’t have the accommodation for that.”

Dr Moonsammy is pleading with the residents of Santa Rosa and by extension the country to adhere to the COVID-19 measures, wear a mask when going out, wash/sanitize your hands routinely and take all other necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.

As of July 08, Guyana recorded a total of 284 COVID-19 cases from 3,019 tests conducted.

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