“It feels like I’m the dirtiest person in the world.”: Exploring the experiences of healthcare providers who survived MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia.
J Infect Public Health.
Almutairi AF1, Adlan AA2, Balkhy HH3, Abou Abbas O4, Clark AM5.
1 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia; King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University of Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: email@example.com.
2 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia; King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University of Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: adlanA@ngha.med.sa.
3 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia; King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University of Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia; Infection Prevention & Control Department at Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: balkhyH@ngha.med.sa.
4 King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Electronic address: email@example.com.
Year of Publication:
In summer 2015, a Saudi 1000-bed tertiary care hospital experienced a serious outbreak among patients of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS); during which, some healthcare providers contracted the virus, but none died. The outbreak provoked not only fear and stress; but also professional, emotional, ethical, and social conflicts and tension among healthcare providers and patients alike. Therefore, this study aims to explore what healthcare providers, who survived coronavirus infection, have experienced as a MERS patient and how the infection affected their relationship with their colleagues. Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted individually with seven survivors (healthcare providers). Each interview lasted up to 90min, and the data were analyzed using the thematic analysis technique. Within the participants’ rich and illuminating experiences, four themes were identified: caring for others in the defining moments, perceived prejudice behaviours and stigmatization, lived moments of traumatic fear and despair, and denial and underestimation of the seriousness of the disease at the individual and organizational levels. Survivors still suffered as a result of their traumatic experiences, which might negatively influence their performance. As these survivors are vulnerable, it is their organization’s responsibility to provide a system that embraces HCPs during and after disastrous events.