“I was sure he was going to be saved, I still don’t understand.”

On March 10th, Vicente Sanchez he started to feel bad. On April 7, just one month later, he died without the doctors, his colleagues, being able to do anything to save his life. It was the first doctor to die from Covid and his family has begun a struggle to have it recognized that, like him, many died because the signs of the seriousness of the virus were hidden, that they did not have the proper means to do their job. THE PROVINCES has reflected their battle in various reports. The Valencians for the 21st Century award is a recognition of all the victims of the pandemic.

-Did they talk about what was happening in March? -Was he afraid?

-No, because at first it was sold to us as if nothing was wrong, that it was similar to a cold. We never thought it would affect us. We didn’t have any protection, we went bareback, we didn’t have the means, or the techniques, nobody taught us. With Ebola they did give us courses, but in March there weren’t even surgical masks.

-Was he sick?

-No. -He had suffered from prostate cancer some time ago, but he had recovered. He was looking forward to another hip replacement because he was very sporty, even when the doctors told him to slow down. He led a very active life and tennis was his madness.

-Did you think about the possibility of it getting worse? -To die?

-Even when I was in the hospital I said, “Next week I’ll have a hip operation.” What we never thought was that they would take him down to the ICU and he wouldn’t come out anymore… I remember that when he had cancer he began to take stock, and he said that if he died it didn’t matter, that he couldn’t dream of a better life than the one he had had, with a great family, a job that he loved. He would say, “If I die, I’ve done everything.” But I was sure he was going to be saved and I still don’t understand it.

-Did he like his profession?

-He always said we were on the front line, because SAMU gives you a lot of freedom to act. It is true that you also see many dramas, but to arrive in a critical situation, to be able to intubate a person and save his life gives a lot of satisfaction. In addition, he was very happy to make other people happy in his work as an ophthalmologist at the Clínica Baviera, where he did refractive surgery. He has been very generous in all aspects, in his head there was nothing else but medicine.

-And on a personal level?

-He was a wonderful person. I’ve always been in his wake, he said we were a team, we’ve done everything together, since we were twenty years old. We were very close, also on a professional level. But, above all, we put ourselves in each other’s shoes, and before one of us spoke I knew what he was thinking. He’d say to me, “You’re a witch.”

-they started a battle to get recognition that there were people responsible.

-We want them to at least recognize that they have done wrong, that there is justice for all the bad things we have suffered, because we have suffered a lot and we have felt helpless by the rulers. Because we cannot be the country with the most contagious diseases.

-Is it important that Vicente Sanchez and the victims be recognized with the award?

-Yes, because you are helping us to make visible a terrible situation, where the toilets have been helpless.

-Have you gone back to work?

-I’m on leave. I’m in no condition and I have no illusion of coming back. Now I live from day to day, accompanied by my son, who has returned from the United States, with my dogs. We adopted them this summer because Vincent wanted one when he retired at the end of the year. He had many plans, he wanted to go around the world, which I think is one of the few things we had left to do.

Valencians for the 21st century on the front line

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