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Doctors at Juárez Hospital didn't evacuate during the earthquake on June 23. Photo: Milenio
Doctors at Juárez Hospital didn't evacuate during the earthquake on June 23. Photo: Milenio

An earthquake hit Mexico and doctors and nurses stayed inside with their patients

The 7.5 magnitude quake’s epicenter was in La Crucecita, Oaxaca, but could be felt all the way in Mexico City. It’s only increased stress in a country still in…

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According to La Razón, Oaxaca was the city that suffered most from a 7.5-magnitude earthquake that struck on June 23, registering eight deaths and more than 500 structures damaged. 

It was a shock, but nothing compared to the statistics left by the earthquake that took place in 2017, which led to more than 390 deaths and over 5,000 damaged buildings. 

The big difference between now and then is the circumstances in which it happened. Due to COVID-19, hospitals are working at almost full capacity and a similar operation to the one that took place a couple of years ago would collapse the country's medical infrastructure. 

However, to talk about earthquakes in Mexico is also to talk about resiliency.

Such is the case of the doctors and nurses that, despite the magnitude of the earthquake and the fear it may cause, have learned that the best thing to do during an event like this is to stay with their patients. 

During an earthquake, there's not enough time to unplug medical devices and evacuate the building. Even taking the infected patients out can spread the disease to the others around them and results could be worse.

A trained person in such matters is Mari, a nurse that has experienced every major earthquake Mexico has suffered while working in the same hospital. 

“We cannot let patients alone,” she explained to Reforma. “When the earthquake started to get stronger we got closer to our patients, but we never left the building.”

Something similar happened to oncologist, Armando Ramírez Ramírez, who was caught in the middle of surgery when the first movements started. 

“We must proceed with the operation,” Ramírez Ramírez told the other doctors in the room, understanding that the life of a person depends on his decisions. "Any mistake can cause hemorrhage in the patient and consequences can be fatal," the doctor said later to Milenio.

Although the earthquake was intense, the nurses and doctors resisted the impact with their patients, while the rest of the personnel evacuated the building. Medical care for patients with COVID-19 was not suspended at any time during the 7.5 earthquake.

“We have a responsibility. We can't fail even if after the moment we get images of what might have happened,” said Dr. Luis Antonio Gerardo Delsol, who is in charge of the COVID-19 patients in intensive care at Juárez Hospital in Mexico City.  

After three months of quarantine where streets of the city remained empty, yesterday morning people went out of their homes again, this time to protect themselves from the earthquake. Streets were filled with people wearing masks, others in wheelchairs, nurses with newborns on their arms. 

The streets became an emergency room on the outside.

Doctors were the only ones missing. As it has happened over the last couple of months, no matter what the circumstances are, they decided to stay inside to take care of their patients.

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