Till a few months back, 35-year-old Subhash Baban Gaikwad, working as a business partner at a security agency, used to earn around Rs 60,000 per month. Now, he earns a salary of just Rs 16,000 working as a hospital wardboy.
As a wardboy in Bhosari hospital, he comes to work in his Scorpio, drawing a lot of attention. But he has been drawing praise too for his work. But what made him shun his better-paying job and devote himself to serving patients? “I have survived a scare in my life. Money means nothing if you do not exist in this world. God has given me another opportunity… the medical fraternity has given me a new life and I wish to spend it in the service of patients,” says Gaikwad, whose wife Savita is a nurse at the PCMC-run Bhosari hospital.
A resident of Spine Road in Indrayani Nagar area of Pimpri-Chinchwad, Gaikwad tested positive for coronavirus in June. “I spent five days in the ICU of YCMH. I was so scared I sent a message to my wife saying I don’t think I will survive,” says Gaikwad.
He recovered after five days and was moved to the general ward for another five days. “My wife was my biggest support. She also tested positive and was home quarantined.”
Before testing positive, Gaikwad says he had fever for nearly 13 days. “I had fever on and off and also bodyache. I took over-the-counter pills for two-three days. But the fever remained. Then I went to Bhosari hospital where I was tested for malaria and dengue. The report was negative. Four days passed but the fever refused to go. Then I went to a clinic. The doctor told me I should get tested if the fever persists. Then I got tested for coronavirus. The report came after three days.”
“I was admitted for two days in general ward of YCM hospital and then five days in ICU. Then I was moved out of ICU,” he says.
After his home isolation was over, he saw a PCMC advertisement in the newspaper for wardboys. “I immediately went to Bhosari hospital and submitted my application. I was asked to join the next day,” he says. “It was a godsend opportunity. I did not mind the low pay… My intention is to serve humanity, patients who are going through nightmare.”
Gaikwad says on the first day, he was asked to clean the floor where patients are tested for coronavirus at the hospital. “I did it sincerely. I worked in that department for a month, now I have been shifted to another department. I do whatever is asked of me… mopping floor, cleaning tables, files, clearing trash.”
PCMC Additional Commissioner Santosh Patil said, “Gaikwad’s objective is to do social work especially serve coronavirus patients as he himself has gone through the nightmare. And he is doing his work with honesty, dedication and commitment.”
Dr Shaileja Bhavsar, senior medical officer, Bhosari hospital, says, “Gaikwad was in a bad condition when he tested positive and then his condition turned critical… After recovering, he got selected on his own merit as a wardboy. He is a graduate in Arts.”
Before joining Bhosari hospital one and half months back, Gaikwad was a partner at a Mumbai security agency, handling its Pune office. “It was a team of 250 employees,” he says.
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