Test of Humanity and Companionship

2020. március 21., szombat

The Bethesda children’s hospital of RCH answers to the challenges of coronavirus with new tasks, washable and disinfectable masks and regular information. What do medical doctors recommend to the parents and grandparents in the light of the COVID-19 virus? We asked this question of director-general György Velkey, ho even told us, how we can best support the efforts of the health care workers.

The Hungarian health care system will be gradually adjusted to the struggle with the pandemic, which will expectedly cause an increase in morbidity. Where's the place of Bethesda in this daily-changing system? „Our hospital's operation has changed in numerous ways, for example, we have to provide care for every sick child in our area, who isn't infected with the coronavirus” - as we found out from György Velkey. This includes those who are under 18 and are infectious, and under normal circumstances would be directed to the South-Pest Centre Hospital, an establishment which is currently under disease control and functions as a quarantine.

Precautionary measures were introduced

„The other important and new task of our staff is to screen and sort out suspicious cases. There are existing special proceedings and medical examinations for this” - said the chief physician. By this time both extra tasks are being incorporated into the institution's daily operation.

The known characteristic of the coronavirus is that it rarely produces serious symptoms for children. Still, when it comes to their care, the Hospital consciously and continuously shares information and publishes daily updates on its Facebook page.

In the Bethesda Hospital, similarly to the country's other institutions, there is a strict ban on visits. „It is very important to stick to this rule” - emphasises Dr Velkey. One relative can stay with the children treated in the hospital, continuously, but because of the epidemic, that person must stay and can't leave the hospital, not even for a walk. To prevent the potentially emerging tumult in the waiting rooms, the rule of ‘1 adult for 1 child’ has been introduced. Both in case of outpatients and of those in emergency care, only one family member is entitled to accompany them. Other family members, regardless of how concerned they might be, have to stay at home.

Members of the Church are sewing protective equipment

„The hospital hygiene is part of the routine of doctors, nurses and all colleagues in health care. But just yesterday we convened a training for the whole team to refresh this knowledge and adjust it to the current situation,” said the Director. A significant number of the infected worldwide are health workers, who without their knowledge come into contact with patients infected by the virus. That's why Bethesda highlights the issue of the protection of the colleagues.

„We still have enough sanitary face masks, however, we foresee difficulties in future supply. That's why we purchased material for sewing, so that volunteers, based on a pattern provided by us, can prepare washable, sterilisable, therefore reusable masks”. A company producing normally childrenswear, for example, is volunteering now for sewing 1500 masks, and for another 1500 masks Bethesda approached the Reformed Mission Center, the Women's Association of RCH and Kalunba Non-Profit, the implementing partner of RCH in Refugee Integration Ministry.

Health advice on prevention

How can we keep our peace of mind and balance in such a tense situation? According to György Velkey, like in many other fields of life, we need a good sense of proportion: „Neither panic or fear, nor denial and frivolous behaviour are attitude right attitudes.” As he says, the pandemic, which has reached Hungary, will affect a lot of people, and it can't excluded that it will have victims as well, but one can, and one should prepare for it with a sober mind.

„As I see, the steps for prevention introduced by the Hungarian public health authorities are rational and adequate for the situation. By the time the disease was expected to appear in our country, the supply system for treatments, the decision-making mechanism, and the public information protocol were in place,” the Director said. According to him, the best thing one can do is to follow the protocols, „don't improvise, just follow the rules accurately and prudently”.

Keeping sobriety and humanity

Beyond all this, the medical expert, a man of faith, highlights the importance of companionship and humanity. “Fear very often provokes negative reactions, and people are more inclined to overrule others’ perspectives and interests by their own point of view. A period like this is a test of our Christianity, whether we can think and act in terms of companionship and humanity, while soberly protecting ourselves, our families and our environment.”

Colleagues at Bethesda Hospital often experience gratitude, affection and acknowledgement during their work. The director deems it important, that even in this tense and heated situation we are attentive and regardful to those who are working in the health care intensively. „A period is coming, where most of the people will stay and work at home, but there's a significant group of people in the country, which is prepared to work day and night in order to maintain the good order of our world. Let us respect, encourage, help and pray for them and their work!”

People have answered the call of the director positively. "We've received a lot of food donations in the past few days ... Thank you for supporting our work! Many people however misunderstood our original post; our staff and kids have enough to eat, of course, but they appreciate your recognition and support in forms of coffee, chocolate, muesli, pizza ... Now we are encouraging you to identify the hospital nearest to you and surprise the health workers there, so that they get as much affection as we did," reads in the latest post of the Hospital. 

(Original article published on March 13)

Written by György Feke

Photo: László Sebestyén

Translated by Bálint Farkas

Contact us

Click here if you are interested in twinning.


Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

Phone/Fax: + 36 1 460 0708 

Email: oikumene@reformatus.hu

Our church through American eyes

We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.