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Delhi surgeon who got second Covid vaccine in March dies of virus

Rawat, who had been with the hospital since its inception in 1996, was described as a “thorough gentleman” and a “jovial colleague” by those who had worked with him.

Written by Shivam Patel | New Delhi |
Updated: May 9, 2021 12:58:55 am
Delhi surgeon Dr Anil Kumar Rawat

Before Dr Anil Kumar Rawat was put on a ventilator at Delhi’s Saroj Hospital, he told a colleague: “I will come out of this. I have been vaccinated, I will come out.” On Saturday morning, the 58-year-old surgeon succumbed to Covid.

Rawat, who had been with the hospital since its inception in 1996, was described as a “thorough gentleman” and a “jovial colleague” by those who had worked with him.

He had received the second shot of the Covishield vaccine at the beginning of March, said Dr P K Bhardwaj, the chief executive director
of Saroj Hospital, who had known Dr Rawat since 1994.

“He was like my elder son. He passed MS surgery from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi, and started his career in my unit from RB Jain hospital in 1994. He remained with me till his last breath,” Dr Bhardwaj said.

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After contracting Covid about 10-12 days ago, Dr Rawat was initially in home isolation but had to be shifted to the hospital when his oxygen level started dipping.

Dr Bhardwaj said his team tried all that was possible to save him and even considered a lung transplant: “We gave him whatever was needed. We did everything possible… It’s a huge loss. So many doctors and healthcare staff are falling sick, even after being vaccinated, but they are recovering after having mild symptoms. This is the first death at present of a doctor who was fully vaccinated.”

Dr Rawat is survived by his wife, who is also a doctor in the gynaecology department at Saroj Hospital, and his daughter.

Dr Akash Jain, a surgeon at the hospital, who had known Dr Rawat for 16 years and was with him till Saturday morning, said he was put on a ventilator two days ago and had developed severe pneumonia leading to respiratory failure.

“He was like a younger brother to me. It’s a loss that’s hard to explain… I was with him till his last breath. He was a fighter. Before he was put on a ventilator, he said to me ‘I’ll come out of this. I have been vaccinated, I’ll come out’,” Dr Jain said.

Dr Rawat had been holding OPD consultations till about mid-April, his colleagues said, and would do surgery for Covid-negative patients.

His fellow surgeon Dr P K Gambhir, who was heading the unit Dr Rawat was in, said he had given him command over the unit for about 2-3 years considering that he was very competent.

“There was an occasion in the past where we had a difference of opinion in the management of a patient. It happens sometimes. I later realised, however, that what Dr Rawat was saying was right… He had earned the respect of everyone at the hospital because he was very helpful. If some staff faced financial difficulty, he stepped in to help them,” Dr Gambhir said.

He recalled that Dr Rawat’s daughter got married in November last year. “He went out of his way to do what he could for patients and everyone else… It’s a great loss; I will miss him. It’s not easy to forget someone like him.”

The death left the medical fraternity stunned given that it is rare for someone who has received both doses to develop severe symptoms.

A total of 37,46,494 people have been vaccinated in Delhi so far out of which 8,21,786 have received their second dose, according to the data shared by the Delhi government in its latest health bulletin. The majority of vaccines administered have been Covishield.

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