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COVID Fighters: “We Have To Free India From Coronavirus,” Say Doctors Fighting The Pandemic

Banega Swasth India team spoke TO a team of anesthesiologists from Delhi’s largest government COVID-19 hospital Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), as they share their experience, learnings, triumphs and fears of handling the worst pandemic the world has seen in 100 years

COVID Fighters: “We Have To Free India From Coronavirus,” Say Doctors Fighting The Pandemic

New Delhi: Dr Siddharth Sisodia, a Senior Resident Doctor from LNJP Hospital shares anecdotes about how he prepared himself to deal with the pandemic,

When coronavirus hit India, my wife was 5-months pregnant and her due date was in the first week of August. I had to really prepare myself physically and mentally to fight the coronavirus crisis. Initially, all we knew was it is one of the scariest viruses the world has ever seen, like every individual, I was scared too. But being a doctor, I had to stay back, because it was my duty. It was a challenging time, it still is. I haven’t met my wife in March. We speak every day, I have to console not just myself but my partner as well. Now that’s something we as doctors have never faced before. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting as we have to leave our families behind and fight a war we don’t know much about. For now, we are all working together with one motive to make India free from coronavirus that is everyone’s ultimate goal.

Dr Farah Husain, Co-Incharge COVID ICU adds,

The worst part of this illness is the scene in the ICU and the ICU residents are one who are actually seeing this disease in its worst form. Moreover, initially, there was so much confusion on what is happening with the patient, how to treat them, what treatment will work and what will not. The virus was something which was very new to all of us and initially, we were just so overwhelmed with patients. We still are, coronavirus is very much present around and we see it very closely, every single day. There are so many lives we have lost, there are many we have saved as well, but as a doctor, the load of even losing one patient is very much.

Sharing an incident from her COVID duty, Dr Keerthy, Second Year post graduate (PG) Student says,

There was one time when I was on a duty to inform families about the status of their patient. I had to declare one patient dead, I was speaking with the son of that patient, the moment I informed, the son started crying so much, it was like a blackout not just for him but for me as well. I didn’t know how to respond to the situation, whether to put the call down or to console the family member. Sometimes, even we as doctors struggle with the basics things like these and the pandemic has really taught us all a lot. It is not that we are dealing with deaths for the first time, but definitely this situation is very new. Being a doctor, we need to take care of ourselves, patients and our families, we have triple the liability of being saviours. And this mental or emotional bit to the disease that is new and very very challenging..

Also Read: 6 Months On, What Do We Know About The Coronavirus Pandemic

Explaining COVID-19 duties and what precautions doctors have to take while fighting the battle from the frontline, Dr Amandeep Singh, Second Year PG student said,

We work straight for 2-weeks here then we have to get the COVID-19 test, if we are negative, it is then we go and meet our families for one day and return back to work. COVID-19 duty is very different from the routine duty, we have to first get ready with all our gears on, if we are inside the COVID ward then we have to wear Personal Protective Equipment for six hours straight. During that time, we cannot drink water, nor eat anything or take any washroom breaks. Sometimes when the ward is overwhelmed with patients, we have to extend our duty as well. Once it is over, it takes approximately 20 minutes to get out of the gear completely and sanitise ourselves. 24 hours in a day also feel very less in this pandemic, we have to focus on our studies, be around for COVID duties, whenever required. As doctors, I think, we are capable of fighting the pandemic, but coronavirus has a lot of other pressures – physically and mentally.

Also Read: 6 Months On, A Recap Of How The Coronavirus Pandemic Unfolded

In the fight against COVID-19, LNJP hospital also lost Doctor Asheem Gupta, who was working as an anaesthesia specialist in the hospital. He died from the coronavirus while treating patients on duty. Dr Gupta is survived by his wife and two sons. His wife had also got infected with COVID-19 but she recovered a few days ago. One of his sons is pursuing graduation in Engineering, while the other is studying medicine. According to the statement by LNJP hospital said,

“He was a frontline anaesthesia specialist who contracted COVID-19 infection while on duty. He tested positive on June 6, when he had mild symptoms and was shifted to a quarantine facility. His symptoms aggravated on June 7 and he was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of the LNJP Hospital.”

On May 3 during an interview with NDTV, when the air force had showered flowers on the hospital as a mark of respect to healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19, Doctor Asheem Gupta said,

This is a moment of pride. The whole country stands with us. This type of honour that we are getting is a sign that they are proud of us. We will try to fight this Coronavirus disease.

Also Read: 74th Independence Day Special On COVID-19 Fighters: This Paediatrician Suggests Promoting Positivity As She Treats COVID Infected Children In Kerala

How The Hospital Has Been Battling COVID-19

Delhi witnessed its first coronavirus case on March 2, LNJP hospital immediately sprung into action to take on the virus challenge. The hospital admitted its first case of COVID-19 on March 17 by setting aside 11 isolation rooms for coronavirus patients. As the cases started to spike with each passing day, by April, the entire hospital was converted into a 2000-bed COVID-19 facility to treat coronavirus patients. As of July 29, from 2,000 beds for coronavirus patients in the hospital, 380 were occupied. 88 of the 380 patients were in the ICU and two on ventilators. Since March 17, the hospital has successfully treated more than 2,700 coronavirus patients and sent them home.

On July 27, for the first time in past few months the hospital also did not report any deaths due to COVID, hospital’s medical director Dr Suresh Kumar attributed the feat to “extensive ICU care, plasma bank facility, top healthcare facilities and dedication of doctors and other healthcare workers.”

Talking about the treatment of coronavirus patients in the hospital, he further added,

The moment a serious patient with symptoms is brought into our facility, he or she is immediately taken into the ICU for oxygen support or ventilator support as needed, even if the case is not confirmed. Then, we run a test on these suspected patients and keep them in that separate area until the results come out. If they come out as COVID positive, we move them to corona ward and if negative, we try to stabilise them so they can be shifted to non-COVID facilities.

NDTV reporter Akshay Kumar Dongare also visited LNJP to see the on-ground picture of the coronavirus cases in the national capital. He found that at the COVID centre all beds were empty, doctors of the hospital informed NDTV that since last few weeks no patients have been admitted in this COVID centre. Talking about the paradigm shift in the coronavirus scenario and Delhi’s COVID-19 cases, Dr Rajat Jain from Doctor For You, an NGO that was taking care of the COVID facility at LNJP hospital, said,

When we started this centre at the LNJP hospital, the whole idea was to reduce the burden from the hospital and decrease the COVID patient count. But now luckily, with the efforts from all the authorities, we are finally seeing a decline in coronavirus cases. But, we cannot let the guard off, coronavirus is present and if we don’t take it seriously, Delhi cases can increase.

Coronavirus Pandemic In India

Since the beginning of the pandemic in January 30, India has reported over 23.29 Lakh coronavirus cases, on Tuesday (August 12). The country has reported 60,963 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry. With 834 new deaths, the fatality count in the country due to the pandemic rose to 46,091. Over 16 lakh (16,39,599) people in the country have recovered from the highly contagious disease, taking the recovery rate to 70.37 per cent. Currently, India is the third worst-hit country by the pandemic after the United States and Brazil. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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