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Chilean Doctor Spreads Hope Amid Bleak Pandemic Landscape

The doctor's charismatic personality and ability to explain complex issues have won him the affection of Chileans.
18 Jun 2020 08:46
Chilean Doctor Spreads Hope Amid Bleak Pandemic Landscape
Sebastian Ugarte, head of the Intensive Care Unit of the INDISA Clinic, works on his computer amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Santiago, capital of Chile, June 11, 2020. (Xinhua/Clinica INDISA)

Chilean doctor Sebastian Ugarte, 61, has worked in the medical field for 27 years. Now he has become a familiar face to Chileans, as he makes rounds of news shows to discuss the outbreak of COVID-19 and ways to combat it.

His realistic but ultimately hopeful attitude towards the epidemic, which has infected 184,449 people and claimed 3,383 lives in Chile by Tuesday, has also made him a welcome presence in the media.

The doctor is spreading hope amid the bleak landscape of the pandemic and its mounting count.

“I have to tell the truth, but always tell the truth, no matter how hard it is, with a grain of hope, because in the end we are going to overcome this epidemic,” said Ugarte, who heads the Intensive Care Unit of the INDISA Clinic in the capital city of Santiago.

In addition to his positive message, his charismatic personality and ability to explain complex issues clearly have won him the affection of Chileans, as their posts on social networks show.

The outbreak has impacted him, too, preventing him from seeing his mother and three children, Ugarte told Xinhua.

“I don’t go to see them so I don’t infect them … but receiving these messages of affection is positive,” he said, referring to the praise he has received from grateful Chileans.

“It’s comforting, because the role of doctors and healthcare workers has been to accompany the sick and even risk their own health,” said Ugarte.

Every morning, he wakes up at 5 a.m. to read the latest scientific and medical news about the virus before arriving at the clinic at 7 a.m. INDISA is currently treating 243 COVID-19 patients.

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