Two nurses in Turkey who rushed to ensure the safety of new-born babies in incubators during a devastating series of earthquakes have been recognised for their “bravery” and “selfless acts of courage and humanity”.
On Monday 6 February, a series of massive earthquakes struck south-eastern Turkey, near the border of Syria, claiming the lives of thousands and leaving behind significant destruction in the area.
Last week the International Council of Nurses (ICN) highlighted the “courage and dedication” of nurses and health colleagues across Turkey and Syria as they continued to work through the devastating aftermath.
Video footage has now emerged of nurses at a special care baby unit in a Gaziantep hospital in Turkey who put their own lives at risk during the disaster to protect their patients.
The film shows two nurses hurrying to hold onto shaking incubators to prevent them from tipping over during an earthquake on 6 February.
Responding to the video, ICN president Dr Pamela Cipriano said today: “Amid the tragedy, destruction and deaths caused by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, it is not at all surprising to see the bravery of these nurses who ran towards their tiny patients.
“Nurses’ instincts are to act swiftly to protect those under their care regardless of the circumstances,” she said.
“Every day we see these selfless acts of courage and humanity that epitomise the spirit of nurses everywhere and illustrate the true value of nurses and nursing to the world.”
She added: “On behalf of ICN and the world’s nurses I send my sincere condolences and best wishes to the people of Turkey and Syria, and to the nurses and other health and humanitarian workers who are doing so much to try to ease the burden of this enormous natural disaster.”
Health minister for Turkey, Dr Fahrettin Koca, shared the footage of the nurses on social media site Twitter on Sunday 12 February and praised their actions as “unforgettable”.
O can alıcı sarsıntı sırasında iki hemşire arkadaşımız unutulmaz bir davranış gösterdi. Gaziantep İnayet Topçuoğlu Hastanesi Yeni Doğan Yoğun Bakım Ünitesinde görevli Devlet ve Gazel hemşireler dışarı çıkmak yerine bebeklerin bulunduğu kuvözlerin devrilmesini önlemeye çalıştılar. pic.twitter.com/ikCoqqpU9M
— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) February 12, 2023
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said “thousands of lives were lost” during the initial earthquakes and “thousands more” are now at risk amid the destruction of infrastructure and freezing temperatures in the affected areas.
Some 72 metric tons of trauma and emergency surgery supplies has been sent by the WHO to both countries in recent days to support the ongoing response efforts.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “These life-saving health supplies are critical for treating the wounded and providing urgent care to all those affected by this tragedy in both countries.
“Survivors are facing freezing conditions, continuing aftershocks and very limited access to shelter, food, water, heat and medical care. We’re in a race against time to save lives.”