COVID-19: A study about the Impact of Coronavirus on Physicians of La Plata, Argentina
Author(s): María Virginia Croce, Elsa Chiappa, Adriana Moiso, Martin E Rabassa
Background: In Argentina, the burden of COVID-19 on health systems and physicians was substantial with difficulties on daily triage decisions which have to be made in the context of grave shortages of basic equipment and consumables.
Purpose: this study was performed to understand what physicians were experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic in La Plata (capital city of Buenos Aires province, Argentina).
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed; a questionnaire was sent by e-mail to physicians who work in this city during November 2020. The questionnaire was made based on Medscape US and International Physicians' COVID-19 Experience Report: Risk, Burnout, Loneliness.
Statistical analysis: test for normality was performed employing the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test while Chi-square test of independence to examine the relationship between sex and workplace with nominal variables. For categorical variables, Kendall’s tau correlation was performed to test for independence. ANOVA was developed to examine differences between physician’s age. Statistical significance was set to p <0.05 in all cases. All statistical analysis was done employing SPSS Statistics, Version 24 (IBM, USA).
Results: 203 physicians answered the questionnaire; the majority of physicians (96%) considered stressful their experience during pandemic and reported distress episodes being for more than 60% the most stressful of their practices, 30% presented depression and were medically treated, while 32.7% felt loneliness with 4 physicians with suicidal thoughts.
Conclusion: The results highlight the need to protect the psychological well-being of the healthcare community, and to invest resources to significantly promote the mental health of professionals.