"Anyone who has never faced a 45-year-old slightly overweight man with shortness of breath, placed him on a ventilator and only one week later signed his death certificate cannot understand what a pandemic looks like."
These words were written in emotional social media plea to the Israeli public by Dr. Or Goren, an anesthesiologist at Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The Facebook post that went viral highlights the concern that many of the public still struggle to understand how serious coronavirus is and how it can affect any one of us.
"I think we are all in the same boat with this coronavirus," Goren told Ynet after the post in Hebrew was shared more than 3,000 times.
" A third grader who must stay away from their friends is also in this fight," he said.
"I wanted to bring the voice of those of us who are at the epicenter: the nurses, the custodians, the ICU staff and the anesthesiologists who care for those most seriously ill. I wanted to show the public what the disease looks like at our end," he said.
"This is a serious illness with a substantially higher rate of mortality than the flu. It wreaks havoc in people, young ones as well, in a manner we have never seen before," Goren told Ynet.
"Even those who have relatively mild symptoms can expect a long recovery period and serious damage to their health. This is a fact. We see lung damage the likes of which we have never seen with the flu and severe damage to the cardiac system even after the virus is no longer present in the body."
Goren said that despite the greater understanding that science and the medical profession now had about COVID-19 and its treatment, the public must remain vigilant.
"The 45-year-old man I wrote about had walked into the hospital on his own two feet and told me that he would be just fine. He ended up on a heart and lung machine," he said.
"The ferociousness of this disease and the damage it causes is something we have not seen before," he said.
"We do what we can as medical teams. We are getting better at it, but people must understand that this is not another form of flu. It kills people 10 times more than the flu."
"The public does not see what I do and that is why I wrote the post," Goren concluded. "If we continue this way, more and more people will see their family members and their friends in such a dire state, and then they will understand."
Dr. Goren's full Facebook post reads:
My name is Or. I am an anesthesiologist and ICU doctor at the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv and am currently a senior member of the team treating coronavirus.
We are overrun, in all honesty, by seriously ill patients. Some of them young.
Anyone who has never held the hand of a 74-year-old woman who was in seemingly perfect health at 8pm as she instructed me not to connect her to a ventilator should the need arise, only to sign her death certificate just six hours later cannot understand what true horror is.
Anyone who has never faced a 45-year-old slightly overweight man with shortness of breath, placed him on a ventilator and only one week later signed his death certificate cannot understand what a pandemic looks like.
I have seen much in my life. I have cared for many as they died. I've seen the Swine Flu and other epidemics, but I have never seen anything like we are experiencing now.
Young people who will never be taken off respirators because COVID-19 destroys the lungs.
Older people who were active and could have lived for many more years, dying at a dizzying speeds.
I call on all of you – not with any intent to lay blame - please adhere to the health directives.
If you want to pray and your synagogue is too crowded with people - stay away.
If you are near someone who is not wearing a face mask – don't be shy and point out that he or she must wear one.
For those of you who hope prayer will protect you, but for the rules of medical confidentiality I could tell you how many ultra-Orthodox people succumb to the disease.
May this difficult time pass, and we can all return to normality.
Now we are tested by the heavens to protect our bodies and the lives of those dear to us."