The constantly evolving novel corona virus infection and the havoc it unleashed has created a lot of clamor among health care professionals globally. Despite advancements in medicine and medical technology, this pandemic manufactured a situation that was so unexpected and beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. The unwavering courage and responsibility displayed by our medical fraternity during this crisis has been and continues to be invaluable and commendable.
We were just breathing a sigh of relief after closing the COVID facility at our hospital, since the first wave of the pandemic had subsided in February. However, we were also conscious and on the look-out for any signs that might indicate the re-emergence of the disease. Life was just getting back to normalcy and routine was beginning to set in at work. Two months had barely passed when we were once again up and on our toes as the second wave of the pandemic hit us unexpectedly. The experiences learnt from the first wave proved to be of some utility as we were now familiar with the people and the place.
During the initial days, we were in a state of shock as the second wave was nothing like the first wave. The severity of the cases, the sudden barrage of cases, the unimaginable number of cases needing hospitalization overwhelmed our health infrastructure. We were and are, extremely fortunate to work under a very powerful and strong leadership, as our leaders always exuded optimism in addition to motivating and supporting us at each step along the way.
The hospital looked like no less than a war zone in which every single person irrespective of their position or role were motivated to work selflessly, collectively and towards a common goal in the best way that they one was capable of. We also ensured that all necessary precautions were adopted to protect our families and ourselves.
The ever changing trajectory of the disease and the psychological stress it brought along with it did make us feel helpless at times; yet, we did not allow it to deter either our spirit or our efforts. We sometimes did wonder on how best we could mitigate the fears or the negative perceptions that people had associated with the pandemic, or how much time it would take to tide over this crisis or how best to support those who had experienced personal, psychosocial and financial losses.
With the second wave now settling down, I am reminded of the situation we witnessed just after India’s devastating Tsunami in 2004. Both situations have resulted in a significant number of people being physically incapacitated, mentally shattered and exhausted (both mentally and physically). It was heart wrenching to watch friends and families grieve upon losing their loved one’s as the opportunity to say their final good byes’ were snatched away right in front of their eyes. This unfortunate situation will most definitely translate to an increase in the burden of patients with psychological and emotional distress. Medical professionals are to be now aware of these after-effects and consider these psychosocial issues among patients while tending to their other health-related issues.
I would like to salute and thank every single frontline worker (medical and non-medical professionals’) who was martyred while in their line of duty.
About the Author: Dr. Ram Singh is an Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical of Sciences, New Delhi. (email@example.com)