“We look out for each other. It is challenging for us because we have not been in a situation like this before where everyone is staying at the hospital after their shift,” says Dr Farman Khan (26), junior resident at the medicine ward, which has been turned into the COVID-19 ward.
The ward has till now had 11 positive cases out of which 7 have been discharged. It was established in the first week of March after the hospital received its first suspected case.
Dr Khan says everyone is battling issues back home but is trying their best to not let it show while working. “My 65-year-old father, who suffers from high blood pressure and heart problems, is stuck in Rampur since the lockdown started. I am worried about him, but I can’t be distracted while on duty,” says Khan.
His family lives in Dubai and his father had come to Rampur to look after their ancestral farm in Rampur when the lockdown was announced. “Since then, he has been there, alone. That worries me the most,” says Khan.
Dr D Himanshu (40), the nodal officer and ward in-charge, says the biggest challenge is the fear of infection. “Four teams have gone into quarantine and some have returned to duty. In each team, there were around 25 people. Currently, there are 53 staff members in quarantine,” he adds.
Dr Saurabh Pandey (31) was among the doctors who were quarantined. A senior resident doctor, he was in quarantine from March 18 to April 1.
Pandey said the biggest challenge for him was to maintain distance from his wife, also a doctor, who is in an advanced stage of pregnancy. “I would have liked to be around her then. But I knew I cannot take any risk so she moved to a relative’s house and I moved to a quarantine facility,” says Pandey, who has tested negative.
Lucky Balmiki (26) is a sanitation worker at the COVID ward. Working at the ward and living in a room provided at the hospital since April, Lucky says his shift stretches beyond the stipulated six hours on most days.
“I have no issues working extra hours. This is the first time I feel I am doing something for the country and its people. Otherwise, who cares about a cleaner,” says Balmiki.
Lucky’s supervisor Kamlesh Kumar (48), who is posted as a clerk at the medicine ward of KGMU, feels this is the time for people like him and others working under him to step up. “I have not met my family for more than a month, but it doesn’t bother me much. People like me have worked all our lives, but this is the time to really show our worth. It feels like I am a soldier fighting for the country. The day the PM told the country to applaud for us, I felt pride.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines