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Jakarta Post

More Indonesian doctors, nurses die fighting against COVID-19

  • Apriadi Gunawan, Asip Hasani and Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Medan/Surabaya/Jakarta   /   Wed, May 20, 2020   /   07:21 pm
More Indonesian doctors, nurses die fighting against COVID-19 Medical personnel take a break after conducting COVID-19 swab tests in Depok, West Java, on April 8. (Antara/Asprilla Dwi Adha)

As the country still struggles to flatten the COVID-19 transmission curve, more medical workers have fallen victim to the disease, with dozens of doctors and nurses across the country succumbing to the coronavirus.

According to the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI), at least 27 doctors have died due to the disease as of Wednesday.

One of them was a neurologist from the North Sumatra University (USU) hospital in Medan, 56-year-old Irsan Nofi Hardi Nara Lubis, who died on Monday after four days of treatment for COVID-19.

North Sumatra COVID-19 task force spokesman Aris Yudhariansyah said Irsan had been admitted to the Colombia Asia Medan hospital after testing positive of the coronavirus disease. He was buried under the COVID-19 burial protocol at a cemetery in the Perumnas Simalingkar housing complex in the city.

“We are still tracking his contact history [with COVID-19],” Aris said, adding that doctors still had no clue how Irsan contracted the disease.

He added Irsan’s wife, who is also a doctor, was in self-isolation at home, while authorities were waiting for her COVID-19 test result.

USU Hospital spokeswoman Evi Sumianto said Irsan had been a “role model” in the hospital for being humble to the people around him. “We just lost one of the best medical staff we have ever had.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there 235 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths have been confirmed across North Sumatra.

Read also: COVID-19: #IndonesiaTerserah trends as frustration mounts over physical distancing violations, govt policies

A doctor from Surabaya, East Java, has also been added to the long list of doctors succumbing to the disease. Boedhi Harsono died of COVID-19 on Monday at the National Hospital in the provincial capital, as reported by the IDI on its Instagram account.


A post shared by PB Ikatan Dokter Indonesia (@ikatandokterindonesia) on

IDI spokesperson Halik Malik said Boedhi had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his death. However, he went on to say that the association had yet to get any details regarding Boedhi’s medical history.

The spokesperson added that Boedhi’s wife, also a doctor, had also been infected and was receiving treatment at the same hospital.

“A team from the IDI in Surabaya has reported that her condition is critical. She is still receiving treatment in the intensive care unit [ICU] and supported by respiratory support equipment,” Halik said on Wednesday.

In another death among medical staff in Surabaya, a nurse working at a COVID-19 referral center in the city, the Mohamad Soewandhie Hospital, died of the disease on Wednesday morning.

The nurse, Suhartatik, previously worked in the hospital’s stroke ICU until she showed COVID-19 symptoms. She was eventually referred to the Husada Utama Hospital after receiving treatment at the hospital she worked for.

Read also: Ambon hospital suspends operations after 25 medical workers test positive for COVID-19

Soewandhie hospital spokesperson Rince Pangalila said it was not known how the nurse had contracted the coronavirus, as quoted by

Suhartatik’s death was confirmed by Indonesian Nurses Association (PPNI) chairman Harif Fadhillah on Wednesday, saying the association was still investigating whether the nurse was infected while she was on duty.

“She reportedly had been sick even before she got infected with COVID-19. However, we’re still looking for confirmation,” he said.

According to the PPNI, 20 nurses nationwide have died of COVID-19, although the actual number might be higher than the official record.

“We only record the death of nurses who were infected with COVID-19 when they were on duty. The number might be much higher, considering that nurses who are off duty might also get infected.”

Read also: The faces behind the numbers: Remembering COVID-19 victims

Previously, a four-month pregnant nurse named Ari Puspita Sari suspected of having COVID-19 in Surabaya died on Monday after receiving treatment at two hospitals.

At the time of her death, Ari was only suspected of having COVID-19. However, the provincial COVID-19 task force eventually revealed that Ari’s swab test had come back positive.

“Prior to Ari’s death, 64 medical staff were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, three of whom have died of the disease,” task force head Joni Wahyuhadi said on Wednesday.