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Coronavirus stigma driving Tokyo’s front-line hospitals to edge of collapse

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Coronavirus stigma driving Tokyo's front-line hospitals to edge of collapse

Officials of Toyonaka, Osaka Prefecture, make medical gowns out of plastic bags to offset the shortage at a local hospital on Monday. | KYODO Doctors and other medical staff at designated COVID-19 hospitals in the capital say their situation is reaching a critical point.

Interviewed by phone and email earlier this week, they say some colleagues have already quit, fearing their family will be stigmatized by fear of the disease. The names of the hospitals and the sources interviewed for this story are being kept confidential.

They warned that a “collapse of the medical care system” come happen soon if the situation continues. They also said the social prejudice they are experiencing is partly resulting from insufficient safety measures at their hospitals, including PCR testing for medical staff and personal protective equipment.

Some nurses are complaining that nurseries are refusing to accept their children out of fear they might be infected and spread the coronavirus.

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“Stress is huge for our teams,” one doctor said. “This hospital is collapsing and screaming to get attention after having done so much in this fight against the virus. The situation is serious as the best infections preventive measures cannot be taken due to lack of virus testing and protective tools.”

A nurse at the same hospital said she was told by a nursery school that it would not look after her child unless she stops working. Likewise, an elementary school attended by the child of another nurse asked the nurse to take a PCR test and submit the results.

In some cases, results don’t seem to matter. Some nurses’ family members have been told by their employers not to […]

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