The Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad de la Península de Yucatán is one of three health facilities in Merida qualified to treat COVID-19 patients. Photo: Flickr

Doctors and nurses from the Regional High Specialty Hospital of the Yucatan Peninsula (HRAEPY) signed an open letter decrying a shortage of drugs essential for making intubated coronavirus patients comfortable.

Patients are not given sedatives and are wide awake while a 30-centimeter tube is connected from a ventilator to the trachea, doctors said.

Other medical supplies are also in short supply while nearly 500 COVID-19 patients are treated in one of Yucatan’s hospitals, the medical professionals said in the letter, addressed to the president, state governor, federal secretary of health and director of HRAEPY.

“Patients who are in serious condition, intubated, do not have sedatives, so they enter situations of stress and despair. This situation has been going on for two or three months,” reads the letter, whose authors are anonymous. The situation is the same in all hospitals, they said: there are no anti-anxiety drugs, sedatives or pain relievers.

Doctors are even risking losing their professional licenses, since it is considered inhumane to let patients suffer in such a way.

“It is terrible to see patients who are wide-eyed, who are suffering, who can no longer take it,” reads the document.

Vasopressors (norepinephrine, vasopressin, dopamine), antimicrobials, anticoagulants, steroids, antipsychotics and insulins are also in short supply, they said.

“Based on what was previously described, the health personnel (doctors, nurses, stretcher-bearers, social workers, cleaning, maintenance and security personnel) of this great institution to which we proudly belong and to which we give our daily effort for the well-being of our patients, carry out a peaceful protest through this document and we urgently request their intervention to bring supplies and drugs that are currently in short supply to carry out optimal care for patients affected by this terrible disease,” reads the letter.