Traumatologist and specialist in the treatment of chronic pain. Dr. Martínez is of French origin and has a long international career, in addition to the recognition of numerous awards. Now, he gives his vision of two years of the pandemic from different perspectives, also his field of work.
The management of the pandemic has been very diverse. Have there been successful preventive measures?
After all, one can always be very smart. First of all, we must be aware that the situation was very new and very difficult for everyone to manage. That should be a lesson to learn. We should make adequate plans for future pandemics, for future health alerts that may arise and act in a united, forceful and more effective way.
Would you take a specific example as a reference?
It may be more or less controversial, but I absolutely agree with the confinement measures that were made at the beginning. They helped to slow down the first equation of the pandemic a lot. The mask, both outdoors and indoors, I think is still a necessary measure, we must be careful. A sustainable economy can be made at the same time that we are applying precautionary measures, especially getting vaccinated.
During these two years, have people shown that their individual responsibility can be trusted?
As much as it is said, I am proud of how the population in general has acted and especially in Spain. I think he has behaved in an exemplary manner, with few exceptions. We should orient ourselves in a more positive way. They have accepted a confinement and the vast majority have strictly complied with it. When we have had to be vaccinated we have all come, we are from the countries with the highest vaccination rate. Therefore, we can be proud of having a country that has behaved as it should behave.
He comments on this communication between professionals, which has not happened at a political level between countries or between autonomous communities.
That has been exposed. International coordination, the independence of each country according to its internal political situation to take some measures or others, that is quite critical because the virus is the same on one side and the other. In Spain especially, the scientific entity should have been listened to a lot. Many times it has not been known how to separate what is internal politics from the general interest.
As a traumatologist, what do you think about your fellow specialists reinforcing the Emergency Department by carrying out tests and signing off?
I am proud to be part of this group of professionals, to be a healthcare professional because it has shown the vocation that we have and the capacity for sacrifice that exists in the group. So to all those who are facing this right now and who are coming out of their disciplines to support another new emergency situation, my greatest admiration and pride in what you are doing.
And as a specialist in pain treatment, have you had a new profile of patients as a result of the aftermath of covid?
The chronic pain patient has been left behind in this pandemic. He has not received a proper diagnosis or proper treatment. The rate of patients with chronic pain who are decompensated without adequate treatment has increased and private centers such as ours have had to mitigate this situation. On the other hand, covid itself has created the persistent covid syndrome, which is associated with different types of chronic fatigue, neuropathic pain, chronic pain.
«The mask, both outdoors and indoors, I think it is a measure that is still necessary, we must be cautious»
And how are these symptoms being treated?
We are applying similar protocols to similar pain and we are seeing that they are not very effective in all patients, therefore we are designing new algorithms, new forms of approach and we are in a development phase in this type of treatment for patients with persistent covid . We are still in a development and research phase on it. There are patients who are already seeing improvement and there are others in whom the pain continues to be resistant.
Health personnel have always been trusted. Why is there now a more reluctant reaction to the opinion of professionals like you?
The degree to which a country’s health and scientific personnel are trusted is directly proportional to the country’s level of education and has shown that, not only in Spain, but in all countries, it is necessary to influence and improve the education of the population, in terms of health issues, in terms of scientific culture.
The omicron variant has left the belief of a decrease in the virulence of the virus. Can it be treated like a common flu?
Recent experience tells us that we must be very cautious, that before making decisions and trivializing situations we must really arrive at evidence and certainty. It seems that omicron is somewhat milder in evolution than previous variants. We have to be honest and know that we still know little about this virus
“The chronic pain patient has been left behind. Private centers have had to cushion this situation”
Now there is already talk of Deltacron. What is the population up to now?
Deltacron is a variant that has not been demonstrated. We have to wait a little longer to know if that exists or not. It seems that the information we are getting is that it was more of a technical laboratory error.
In this sense, is there a date for the end of the pandemic as we understand it?
The risk of making a mistake is high, but if trends like the ones we are seeing continue, I believe that by Easter this may already be, at least, controlled and passed into an endemic phase. I think 2022 will be the end of the pandemic. We will start with the endemic.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.