65 people have volunteered to work at PERH during coronavirus crisis

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Ruth Rauba. Source: ERR

During the coronavirus pandemic, 65 people have volunteered to work at Tallinn's North Estonia Medical Center (PERH). These include a sports coach, lighting technician from an Oscar-winning student film and a state agency lawyer.

ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" spoke to two volunteers on Friday to find out about their experiences and why they volunteered their time.

"I haven't been able to work at all for almost a year," said Ruth Rauba, who has been volunteering as a carer since the start of April. Rauba usually works in the restaurant sector and as also as a dance teacher but activities in both sectors are suspended due to coronavirus.

When her daughter suggested she work at the hospital, it seemed like an exciting challenge. "Since I know a couple of doctors I spoke to them and I realized that they were already completely exhausted, I wondered why not try," Rauba said. 

A carer's work is difficult but thanks to her previous experience Rauba thinks she may face fewer difficulties than others.

She said she is not afraid to catch coronavirus because she also wears personal protective equipment and follows the rules diligently whenever possible. She has also not found it hard to face up to the realities of death.

"It shouldn't be taken home. My trick is to put on my headphones, listen to music and walk home for 40 minutes, forgetting about it," she told AK.

Although Rauba is enjoying her work, she would also like to be able to go back to her day job when possible.

Lighting technician Artur Laugamets, who worked on the Oscar-winning student "My Dear Corpses" (Minu kallid laibad), started working on PERH's intensive care ward at the start of the coronavirus crisis last year.

"When that coronavirus came, I, a great documentary enthusiast, thought it would be interesting to see what life in a hospital looks like at such a difficult and special time," he said.

On his first day on the ward, he came face-to-face with death but has learned to deal with it. "I didn't have a problem getting over it because I understand that life is life," he said.

One of the things he found most difficult at the start was touching strangers, worried he might cause them hard. Now the most difficult part is watching families saying goodbye to their loved ones.

Laugamets praised his, mostly female, colleagues. "It's beautiful how colleagues help and support each other in difficult times. I've never seen such cooperation and support," he said.

He said his time as a caretaker has been very exciting and passed very quickly and he would like to continue working at the hospital on a part-time basis in future.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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