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Monday, July 06, 2020

Coping with the coronavirus

“I think the hardest thing for me has to be the isolation I have phased, physically and emotionally during this time...", said one of the doctors.

Written by Chahat Rana | Chandigarh | Published: July 1, 2020 1:04:33 pm
nATIONAL DOCTORS DAY “I think the hardest thing for me has to be the isolation I have phased, physically and emotionally during this time…”, said Dr VK Nagpal.

As the country thanks doctors for their tireless service, CHAHAT RANA finds out what it means to be a healer in the midst of a pandemic.

“I think the hardest thing for me has to be the isolation I have phased, physically and emotionally during this time. I cannot meet people in person as I used to. Cannot even hug my children or any other member of my family. I know it is not an attempt to ostracize me, but people are just aware of my identity as a doctor more than ever now. They are wary and scared of being in contact with me, perhaps rightfully so, but it still is a lonely space to be in. But we have to keep on going now,”
Dr V K Nagpal, Medical Superintendent, GMSH 16

“The past three months have been rife with challenges for our team working at the testing laboratory. We have to scale up testing from 60 a day to around 600 a day, catering to Chandigarh and neighboring states. We are also a depot for antigens for most testing centers in north India, we mentored hospitals to set up their own testing centres and now we are involved in validating testing kits. As soon as we got over one challenge, there is yet another one waiting for us so it has been an extremely busy and stressful time for us. But I am glad everything is working out now,”
Dr Mini P Singh, Dept of Virology, PGIMER

“The biggest challenge for me was to be made responsible for the dedicated COVID ward at PGIMER. My expertise is in Hematology-Oncology and bone marrow transplant, but then suddenly my team of other doctors and I were tasked with setting up a completely new hospital. We had to come up with protocols for treatment, every new patient was an unprecedented challenge and we received some patients who were severely ill, who we had to continuously monitor. But I am glad I was able to add this experience to my portfolio and every day is becoming easier to handle now,”
Dr Pankaj Malhotra, Dept of Internal Medicine, PGIMER

“Everything was new for us during the pandemic. We had to stay away from home and our loved ones and manage very serious responsibilities independently. Long periods of quarantine after getting exposed to COVID-19 positive patients are also hard to manage. Then just the fear of the disease, the fear for your own life, it gets to you even though you know this is your work and your duty. Wearing the PPE kits makes everything worse, but of course it is for our own protection. But when this ends, hopefully we will all have become more like the people who we wanted to be and may we become better human beings for each other because we all went through the worst together,”
Dr Vinci Priyansha, Resident Doctor, Dept of ENT, GMCH 32

The toughest thing was to come to terms with my commitment to the profession. I had to remember that there was a reason I opted for this profession and that was my commitment to work to protect myself and my loved ones. But at times, the COVID duty was too challenging, especially for someone so new to the profession. Just wearing the PPE kits in 42 degrees for hours in a row was excruciating, and handling COVID-19 suspects was also scary. But I guess we have come out stronger than ever,”
Dr Harkirtan Singh, MBBS Intern, GMSH 16

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