Head of PERH ER: I am forbidden to hug my children

Perh Kristiina Põllu.
Perh Kristiina Põllu. Source: ERR

Head of the Department of Emergency Medicine of the North Estonian Medical Center (PERH), Dr. Kristiina Põllu, says she has been separated from daughter Anita for over two weeks, and the same goes for her 13-year-old brother Jasper. Põld noted that every now and then, being separated from her children brings tears to her eyes and even though the first phase of fear has passed at work, where they have adjusted to the new arrangements, they are also taking into consideration that anything can change at any given moment.

"Compared to the pre-COVID time, the general number of people coming to the doctors has decreased by around a hundred, but at the same time, there are more people arriving in an ambulance. Their conditions are worse, they are in the hospital for longer because we are waiting for an answer. This COVID test is not a speedy test, it takes about four hours. A minimum of four hours," Põld told ETV´s "Ringvaade".

The preparations in the hospital actually started already in January, on the advice of the chief doctor. "The action really started on March 13, in order to create separate departments, to establish the ER tents, to create a sterlized and unsterilized area. The working days have been very long. We haven´t had days under 12 hours." On March 13, the doctor´s own life turned upside down.

"My life at the moment is that I go to work and then sleep at home in the evenings. My son is staying with his father, where he at least has parental care, and my daughter went to my sister-in-law's. My brother´s child is also on homeschooling, so he can support her," Põld said, describing their current situation. "We meet in the yard, with two-meter spaces [between us]."

It is completely forbidden for doctors to hug their children. "We bring them food bags, placed behind their doors, wave to them from two meters, because it is a big enough danger that I will bring some kind of an infection home. But they are already used to the fact that their mother has a lot of night shifts and goes to work a lot. It is still a little bit hard, though. It makes me tear up. The children are stronger than I am," she admitted.

Regarding her son, she noted that he is a budding serious Estonian man, but during this current situation, even he has admitted that he misses and loves his mother.

Talking about work, Põld said that the most intense time is over, because the fear phase has been passed. "People are used to being in full protective gear and with the new arrangements, though with the fact that every day, everything can change. The team is very, very good."

She admitted that the workload is not that heavy at the moment, but they are rather in a so-called standby mode at PERH.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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