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The Story of Doctor Debryna Dewi Lumanaw

NOW! PEOPLE | 8 April 2020
From Wisma Atlet hospitals, Doctor Debryna Dewi Lumanaw spared her time in the middle of her extraordinary efforts in treating Covid-19 positives to talk to NOW! Jakarta. Personal Files/NOW!JAKARTA

It was the sixth day for Doctor Debryna to work at Wisma Atlet, one of the referral hospitals to treat the patients affected by coronavirus. At that time, the hospital, which had only been approved for a week as a corona patient care centre, is a place that gives Debryna an unforgettable experience in carrying out her duties as a doctor.

“I’m in the hospital but at the next tower. The situation is very conducive and I’m in good condition. So, any news that says that the rooms in the hospitals are full are false!” Debryna says, opening our conversation.

Debryna becomes viral on social media as she diligently updates the current situations of what she and the doctors’ teams are doing while looking after the patients and the difficulties that they’re facing, in addition to sharing information about the spread of this pandemic virus. Like when Debryna had to wear her personal protective equipment (PPE) clothing for almost 10 hours. PPE for medics is the main defence against Covid-19. The gear includes a mask, protective goggles, ‘hazmat’ body armour and gloves.

“It’s not that we’re not allowed to change the PPE clothing. But we doctors believe these clothes are very expensive and we don’t know how long the outbreak will last, so we will not waste money on these clothes. And one more thing, what made us wear this PPE clothing for dozens of hours is because the process of putting them on takes a lot of work. We’re very careful to avoid damaging the suit. We’re always alert to check out our clothes so that no one's clothes are perforated. If there are holes, we help each other patch it up with duct tape. Some doctors also prefer using adult diapers so we don’t have to take off the suit and risking any damage when we need to go,” explained Debryna.

Through her Instastory, Debryna shared how the emergency hospital is divided into three areas, namely red, yellow and green zones. Once the doctors enter the red zone, they are immediately considered ODP or person in monitoring, so the commitment is they will not be free to leave the zone before being quarantined for 14 days.

Since her first day at the hospital, Debryna said that the security at the hospital is very tight. Starting from checking body temperature to disinfectant booths guarded by military officers. All workers were also examined and received health insurance. "I worked in the emergency room all day, starting from 5am and finishing at around 3 pm," she said.

Debryna, who is a member of the doctor’s team from IDI (Indonesian Doctor Association), revealed that she and the doctors are constantly doing their best in the situation. They are following every guidelines to the letter, especially when it comes to maintaining health, such as consume vitamin D supplements, keep on exercising and eating well-nutritious food.

According to Debryna, most of the corona patients she handles are all in adequate care, yet they are optimistic that they will recover. They only worry about whether they transmit it to other people.

"I am a general practitioner who usually deals with patients affected by natural disasters and am often involved in social rescue. Handling this corona for me is quite a drastic switch, and in dealing with it we have to do things that we think does not ‘make sense’, like washing hands. But it must be done because our lives depend on our way of washing our hands. This disease is terrible because it is invisible. Everyone must be afraid of this disease. Fear is necessary so people can do the right thing. I am a very spontaneous person and I think with my right brain. I have to use everything in my power in exercising my part within this outbreak."

Debryna continues to update her Instagram profile even though she feels exhausted for the sake of educating people. She hopes that Indonesia can cope with this major health crisis. From her point of view, the key against Covid-19 is unity and getting rid of the ego of Indonesia people and political elites.

When we asked whether Indonesia needed a lockdown, she diplomatically answered, "Actually I can't answer it because I have to look at it from various aspects, especially from a political point of view. But purely from the medical side, the country must be locked down. But we must also consider other aspects, such as financial implications, for example."