Two nurses put their own lives at risk as they hurried to hold onto shaking incubators to prevent them from tipping over during the double-earthquake disaster that hit southeastern Turkey on February 6.
Video footage emerged of the nurses’ actions at a special care baby unit in Gaziantep hospital. Health minister for Turkey, Fahrettin Koca, shared the recording on Twitter on February 12, praising the nurses’ actions as "unforgettable" (to see the video, go to this Nursing Times account of the heroics).
Responding to the video, International Council of Nurses (ICN) president Pamela Cipriano said: “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.
“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.”
The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, has warned that the tens of thousands of deaths caused by the earthquakes could be followed by “thousands more” amid the destruction of infrastructure and freezing temperatures in the impacted areas.
The WHO has sent 72 tonnes of trauma and emergency surgery supplies to southern Turkey and northern Syria in recent days to support 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.”