Earlier today, the President held a meeting on measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus with the participation of Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Healthcare Minister Mikhail Murashko and Head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova.
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Conversation with Head Physician of City Clinical Hospital No. 40 Denis Protsenko
Denis Protsenko: Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a technology that has returned to our ICUs from the operating rooms after the swine flu outbreak. The city has sufficient ECMO capacity, and an ECMO centre has been set up at one of our hospitals.
Today, our department gathered for a roundtable discussion with our Chinese colleagues. They said that this time, unlike during the swine flu, the ECMO was not used that much at their hospital, with only 11 ECMO cases in a total of 6,000 patients.
Tatyana Golikova: Those were probably advanced cases.
Denis Protsenko: That is right. That gives us hope that we will not have to deal with that, either. It is a good, but rather aggressive life-saving technique.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Protsenko, I want to thank you for the way the work at your institution is organised. My warmest words of gratitude go to your entire team.
I saw them work. Everyone is in their combat posts. I do not really want to use military language, but everything at your institution operates like clockwork, a well-oiled machine. I saw that your people know what needs to be done and how to do it. They have all they need and effectively use the available equipment and means. Even an onlooker can see how well things are working. I could see how well seriously ill patients are being cared for with three specialists working on one patient at once. It is wonderful to see patients who are getting better and returning to normal life.
They owe it largely to you. Sometimes, I know this for myself, you just need to know how to organise work properly. You have done it. This is a good example of how to go about this kind of work.
My colleagues and I will have a meeting with the Government later today to discuss special medical measures for further localising the spread of the virus, as well as economic measures.
I wanted to ask you, as a person literally operating on the ground and dealing with this directly, to share your thoughts, observations or proposals on our work. This is not just about Moscow, since we will be discussing how these efforts can be used across the country.
Denis Protsenko: From a medical perspective, there are essentially two possible scenarios right now: the Asian one where the spread of the virus quickly subsides, and the Italian scenario with a growing infection rate. As a doctor, an anaesthesiologist and an emergency room practitioner, not just a chief medical officer at a clinic, I believe it is essential that we work out the Italian scenario. If one day we see a major surge in infections, and Moscow is already moving in this direction, we are ready to convert this hospital to accommodate a large number of patients.
At this very moment, we are ready to repurpose 190 of 606 beds to intensive care units. We are taking lung ventilators from storage and installing them, so these 600 beds can form a major intensive care clinic bringing together highly competent experts from across the city. This is what the Italian model is all about.
If we suddenly shift to the Chinese or Korean scenario and it all ends in April or May, I think this would make our doctors happier than anybody. Still, I think we need to be ready to face a worst-case scenario.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin: Mr President, I think that all our colleagues in the regions need to be ready to face serious challenges and complicated problems. Once we put these problems behind us, it will be a relief, but we need to be prepared.
Vladimir Putin: Of course. In fact, this is what we said during the first meeting with our colleagues today. Later today, we will talk this over with the Government at a larger meeting.
Mr Protsenko, thank you very much.
Denis Protsenko: Thank you for your appreciation. I think that your visit is the best way to motivate our team.
Vladimir Putin: I hope this sends a signal beyond your team. I would like to thank all healthcare professionals who are now working and helping people in the best traditions of Russian healthcare.
I wish you all the best.
Denis Protsenko: Thank you.