93-year-old Alye Gunduz was cheered on by her doctors and discharged from an Istanbul hospital after recovering from the novel coronavirus after 10 days of treatment. Her recovery from the illness that mostly kills the elderly gave hope to health workers at the Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty hospital in Istanbul as they fought the outbreak that could be hard on Turkey.
"It is promising because patients of this age and with chronic diseases are unable to recover most of the time because they are at greatest risk for COVID-19," chief physician Zekayi Kutlubay told AFP.
"A 93-year-old woman who left the intensive care unit is inspiring for us as well as for other coronavirus patients her age."
Gunduz, a farmer from the southeastern Turkish city of Batman, suffered from high blood pressure and was hospitalized on March 31 with complaints of high fever and stomach pain. She was released on Friday.
"I wish everyone a speedy recovery," said the older woman when her grandson helped.
Turkey has registered more than 47,000 COVID-19 cases, making it one of the 10 most infected countries in the world. Over a thousand deaths have been recorded and the disease is spreading rapidly.
& # 39; battlefield & # 39;
Turkish health workers deal with patients day and night.
A doctor has died and more than 600 health workers have been infected.
"Everyone is working hard as if they are at war," Nuri Aydin, rector of the Cerrahpasa medical school at Istanbul University, told AFP in the hospital.
"The ambience here is as if it were not a workplace, but a battlefield."
Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey with around 15 million inhabitants, has become the country's virus epicenter with more than 60 percent of the country's cases.
The Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty has responded quickly since the outbreak in mid-March, transforming its operating theaters into intensive care units and setting up special COVID-19 areas where normal patients are separated from other patients infected with the fatal disease.
The doctors are currently treating 210 patients with 30 others in the intensive care unit. A building was assigned to treat medical personnel only.
& # 39; Hopeful & # 39; stay
Some of the health workers are isolated from their own families and live in dormitories or hotels so as not to transmit the disease to their relatives.
"It is difficult to put into words. You are making a superhuman effort," said Aydin.
"There is no price for the service of health personnel. They serve humanity."
Furkan Kurt, a 28-year-old doctor, has been separated from his parents for four weeks while living in a rented apartment.
"We take all protective measures, but there is no guarantee that we will not be infected," he said.
"The only hope we have is the beautiful days we will see. Be hopeful: there is nothing else we can do."
After the diagnosis of COVID-19, some patients are caught unprepared without their cell phone or other personal items.
"On Saturday (when) I was on duty, we received a patient in the emergency medical service. He had nothing, neither slippers nor pajamas. We responded to their needs and gave our cell phones when necessary," said head nurse Merve Pirecioglu.
"When they hear the diagnosis for the first time, patients naturally panic. We advise them that there is nothing to fear. With healthy eating and morals, and with the isolation rules in place, this can be overcome."
Omer Faruk Bilici, 34, a practitioner in another hospital infected with the coronavirus, was released from Cerrahpasa after 20 days of treatment, including in the intensive care unit.
"I know what it's like to be trapped in a six-square-meter space," he told AFP.
"That frightened my other colleagues who, like me, are in danger. I haven't seen anyone's face for 20 days."
Bilici hopes to get back to work as soon as his quarantine period at home is over.
"I can't wait to be on the field again," he said.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)