A few days ago, Deepak Kumar (29), a nursing staff at the isolation ward at ESIC Medical College in Faridabad, received a phone call from his family in Rajasthan that his wife had had a miscarriage.
Deployed at an isolation ward meant for COVID-19 patients, he chose not to rush back to his family and protected them by remaining where he was. “I was completely shattered by the news, but I did not want to put my family in danger and risk carrying an infection back to them. My wife kept asking me to return home for some time, but I could only console and reassure her over the phone,” he said.
Kumar is among 250 doctors and staff deployed at the hospital, which is among the 11 facilities designated by the Haryana government for treatment of COVID-19 cases. For almost two months now, they have been working round the clock and living away from their families in seven tourism complexes set up by the district administration.
“There are around 250 doctors and nurses in Faridabad who have not seen their homes and families for months but are still working to defeat the infection,” said civil surgeon Krishan Kumar.
For Damodar, who is from Aligarh and a nursing staff at the hospital, staying away from his three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter was the toughest part of the last one month. Since his wife is also a nurse at the hospital, the couple’s children have been left in the care of their maternal uncle.“We speak to our children only over the phone or video call. It has been a month since they last met us. They do not completely understand what is happening and keep asking us to let them return home. It is difficult to keep turning them down and stay away, but this is our duty,” he said.
Several doctors and staff members said the support of their families has played a critical role in helping them fulfil the demands of their jobs. “I have two children, aged 10 and 6. Whenever I call them up, they keep asking me to come back. That is difficult for me. But my mother, who is looking after them, encourages me to focus on my work without worrying. She says that what I am doing is a matter of pride for her,” said Ballabgarh resident and nurse Jyoti, who has not returned home for a month.
Deputy Commissioner Yashpal Yadav said, “Doctors, nurses and paramedical staff are playing a critical role in the battle against coronavirus. It is because of their efforts, and the preventive work being done by the health department, that 35 people have recovered and been discharged in the district.”
Faridabad has so far recorded 45 cases, with two more people testing positive on Sunday. “One is a 24-year-old resident of Faridabad, who was undergoing treatment for a kidney ailment at a Delhi hospital. The other is a 32-year-old vegetable vendor,” said a spokesperson of the district administration.
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