RWC Series: "Facing Challenges from Around the Globe: Covid-19"

By: Mario R Romano MD PhD (Milan, Italy)
Director of Ophthalmology Department
Humanitas Gavazzeni - Castelli, Bergamo
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Humanitas University

Affiliations: AAO, EURETINA, among others.
A Message from Mario Romano ~

For one month, we have been in the epicenter (Bergamo, 50 km from Milan) of the red zone! With the army around that stops us from going anywhere. Martina (my wife) and I are still going only to the hospital, where the situation is dramatic (in my hospital alone there are more than 300 inpatients with COVID-19). There are no places for everyone, many people are dying alone, and no relatives can stay next to them. Very sad...

I proposed that I be in contact with patients with COVID-19, performing other functions other than ophthalmology, because there really is a need -- this is the time to be useful. Martina is also working because ocular oncology doesn’t stop treatments.

A few days ago, we lost a colleague that was working in our ophthalmology department – unbelievably sad…

Recently I wrote a few lines as my strong feelings alternate during these days: “End of the omniscience delirium. We can only contain or be hit. We see a united community that struggles, weeps, huddles in front of an invisible enemy, waiting for the restart. Restart that unfortunately some will not see, as they will not see the last farewell of loved ones, the last hug that even the worst of enemies does not deny. The COVID-19 unfortunately goes further, forcing a priest to give comfort by placing the phone on the dead body and praying with the relatives of the victims remotely. The true value of such sacrifice will be the clear perception that a community has entered into communion, that solidarity and union has prevailed, that the things that really matter are very few. Fortunately, we all maintain a positive momentum of planning for the near and remote future, full of positive existentialism that feeds our unconscious search for divine traces in the help of others, a resonance of joy, love and serenity. And so, everyone, recovered doctors, nurses, those not infected, everyone else will bring in, at the end of this profound experience, an awareness of being better people. This is the only hope, this is what we can wish for today by looking ahead confidently." 

By the way, so far, we are fine, but there is new news every day.

Thank you so much.

All the best,
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