Minister who collapsed during Covid political debate “slept for three months”
Former Medical Care Minister Bruno Bruins only wanted to sleep after he became unwell and collapsed while at the podium during a parliamentary debate about the coronavirus crisis last year. He looked back on this moment as part of an interview with RTL Nieuws.
During that debate on March 18, 2020, Bruins was repeatedly criticized. Many Tweede Kamer members were dissatisfied that healthcare workers were facing personal protective equipment shortages, and MPs harangued him over the issue. He collapsed after he had answered questions about scaling up the intensive care unit capacity, and while PVV leader Geert Wilders began to press him further on the issue. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver interrupted to tell the Tweede Kamer chair, “The minister is unwell.”
"After I collapsed, I slept for three months. Rest was all I wanted," said Bruins. The coronavirus crisis demanded a great deal from him, and often cost him his night's sleep. "I was always a good sleeper, but at one point I kept waking up at 4 a.m. I know exactly which radio programs are on in the middle of the night," he said.
"I can't remember the moment I fell. I did get up. I went home with my driver. When I closed the front door of the home, there was just silence. That silence. That was very nice," the former minister told RTL Nieuws.
Bruins then resigned his post with a heavy heart. "I found it very irritating that I had to leave the team. The coronavirus crisis had made our ministers a close team. We really did this together as a Cabinet. But then, suddenly I was out, and I became a spectator, an ordinary citizen who had to read about coronavirus news in the newspaper."
Bruins told RTL Nieuws that he also had coronavirus himself. "It was in the spring of 2020, just after I had stopped as a minister. My wife and I were not very ill, luckily. We stayed inside. It was over after a few days."
Bruins is now a member of the Council of State, a position he took after a period with public transport company HTM.
Reporting by ANP.