“It feels like I'm the dirtiest person in the world.”: Exploring the experiences of healthcare providers who survived MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia

Adel F. Almutairi, Abdallah A. Adlan, Hanan H. Balkhy, Oraynab A. Abbas, Alexander M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 90 min, 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar. 2018

Keywords

  • Coronavirus
  • Infection
  • MERS
  • Outbreak
  • Qualitative research
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Survivor

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