German doctors are feeling exposed – quite literally.
In an online protest, general practitioners have stripped off to raise awareness of a lack of equipment such as masks, gloves and medical gowns to protect them against the novel coronavirus.
Pictures of the undressed physicians have been published on the protest website blankebedenken.org (the name roughly translates as “bare concerns”), showing doctors often donning no more than a stethoscope.
The initiative has made some waves in Germany, with the country’s most popular newspaper, Bild, publishing the doctors appeal along with some of the eye-catching portraits.
“In order to safely treat you, we and our team need protective equipment,” the campaign says on its website.
“We couldn’t prepare. To be true: You couldn’t prepare for this. We are all vulnerable. Medical practices need more support from politics.”
Wir sind Ihre Hausärztinnen und Hausärzte. Um Sie sicher behandeln zu können, brauchen wir Schutzausrüstung. Wenn uns das Wenige, was wir haben ausgeht, dann sehen wir so aus: https://t.co/PfxrY6GBil
— Blanke Bedenken (@BlankeBedenken) April 21, 2020
One image on the site shows a doctor using her long hair to cover her mouth in place of a mask.
In another, a doctor holds a sign reading: “I have learned to sew wounds. Why must I now be able to sew masks?”
GPs in Germany have for weeks been calling for greater protection.
At the start of the month, the German Association of General Practitioners and the German Society of General Practice and Family Medicine (DEGAM) issued a joint statement appealing for measures to protect frontline health workers.
“This must be shown not just with words but with actions,” said association chairman Ulrich Weigeldt and DEGAM president Martin Scherer.
Doctors’ practices and their patients “urgently need the necessary protective equipment and in adequate amounts!”