This article has been retracted and translated from HotNews. The article was shortened, the original version is available here.
Cezar Irimia, President of the Romanian Federation of Cancer Patient Associations says that “The frustration of cancer patients is immense in these troubled days of the COVID 19 pandemic. Almost 400,000 Romanians have accepted a difficult diagnosis, they have come to know they have cancer. Under normal conditions, life expectancy of cancer patients is high today, for most cancers. Suddenly, because of the pandemic, their risk of dying is threefold.
Today, when cancer patients need a treatment and rapid diagnosis, the public health system in Romania, the old champion of preventable deaths suffers from intra-hospital infections, high maternal mortality, the lowest financing of GDP, is sentenced to save death. It will only be seen that the health system, in turn, is cancerous, in terminal stage, and on top, it acquired the COVID -19 pathology. For years, FABC obsessively pubilicized this ‘X-ray’ of the Romanian healthcare system, but the X-ray was ignored by the Romanian governments! Now, we all reap the results of irresponsibility! “
According to Cezar Irimia, recent studies show that “coronavirus-infected cancer patients have a 3.5-fold increased risk of requiring hospitalization in intensive care, mechanical ventilation and death compared to cancer-free patients. We need to protect them and not leave them without access to the treatments they need, whatever it is: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy or surgery. However, the vast majority of cancer patients were discharged overnight, sent at home, hundreds of kilometers away, to wait. Patients diagnosed in advanced stages of the disease urgently need to receive their medicines and their treatment.”
The President of the Federation representing the largest cancer patient associations in Romania: “During this critical period, the health system for various reasons leaves cancer patients without the treatment or diagnosis. Firstly, the hospital units are not prepared to provide the minimum standards of protection. Neither physicians nor cancer patients are provided with personal protection equipment. Neither admitted patients or patients that need to continue their treatment are in the hospital.
Doctors are afraid of direct interaction with patients, so that they don’t infect them or to avoid be infected, since coronavirus screening does not exist. They avoid person-to-person consultations as much as possible. The proof are the desperate calls on the social networks of the regional oncology centers about consultations, the long queues at the entrance of the oncology hospitals “
“Now we are trying to revive the national health system, remaining anchored in the pre-digitalization, and pre-vaccination era, by reconsidering the role of family doctors and by regulating telemedicine, to help patients to stay connected with the specialist or family doctor. A well-established and properly funded palliative care and home care network would have made the difference these days. Unfortunately, in this chapter, Romania is again spending a minimum budget for these types of services,“ says Cezar Irimia.
The President of the Federation also says that “cancer patients are afraid of coronavirus, being number one on the list of deaths of the Ministry of Health, where cancer appears as the key “co-morbidity”. But cancer patients are even more afraid that their chance of survival can be decreased by late or insufficient cancer treatment.”