Source: Santiago Arde
By: Indira Ferrer Alonso / Sierra Maestra
Doctors Marbelis, Marlene and Lisandra faced Covid-19 from the red zone of the Joaquín Castillo Duany Military Hospital, the center that has received confirmed cases from Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba and Granma, since the beginning of the epidemic.
“On March 12 we received the first patient. For me, as an officer and a doctor, sacrifices are a part of everyday life, but that situation demanded much more than we normally do. She taught us to organize ourselves more, to work to eradicate deficiencies, to fight more for the human being… it was a unique experience.
“And I always say that our results are also the work of Fidel because of his legacy in Health, in scientific development and in the organization of society. The Commander taught us to prepare for each battle; and thanks to that, Santiago de Cuba has had very good results, “said Major Marbelis Suárez Castañeda, a specialist in Psychiatry, a member of the first brigade that treated people infected with SARS-COV-2 at the institution.
Dr. Major Marlene Fong Ocejo, was the head of Intensive Care for the third brigade and spent 48 days in the red zone. She recently received the FMC 60th Anniversary Commemorative Seal for the meritorious work carried out in those days.
“We face a new disease with great fear, but we were there to do our work with the same premise that we do it every day: saving lives.
“One of the patients that impacted us the most was the public transport driver, with whom we faced tough situations. Sometimes we went up to 48 hours without sleep to be able to face all the complications that it presented.
“He was a hypertensive patient, with very severe respiratory distress: he had to be put on prone ventilation (upside down), and it was difficult to move him due to his obesity… almost all of us were women.
“His recovery is the result of teamwork; our greatest strength was the union of the collective and the analysis made by the experts who were outside, and they gave us ideas… ”, recalled the doctor.
A three-year-old girl at home and the desire to return healthy after duty accomplished encouraged every step of Lieutenant Lisandra Téllez Palacios when she entered the red zone.
“We were working here, as usual, and they told us that we were going to receive the first confirmed case. It wasn’t a surprise, we actually prepared for it, but it was shocking to me.
“I called my mother and told her that I was going to enter ‘the Covid’ and received her support; she took care of my daughter all the time I was in the Hospital and in Villa Turquino, which was the isolation center where we kept quarantine every time that we were leaving the service.
“Professionally, it was an enriching experience because we learned a lot; and personally it was difficult. When we were in Villa Turquino we counted the days with the fear that the symptoms of the disease would appear, but no one contracted the virus because we were very disciplined. Hopefully it is not necessary, but we are prepared to face Covid again, ”said the specialist in Internal Medicine.
Those who offer their hearts when it seems that everything can be lost do not go through life showing merits, but keeping the losses of the sacrifice for themselves; they do not announce their successes or seek applause. This is how those who create, found and love walk through this city, through this country.
One recognizes them anywhere because there is respect and admiration for their talent and the others point them out if it is necessary to speak of the best. This is how Marbelis, Marlene and Lisandra became the protagonists of these lines.
2020 will go down in human history as the year when an unknown disease claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
These women from Santiago, like so many Cubans, will have the satisfaction of having fought face to face with death, and emerge victorious in almost every battle.