National Doctors Day: A tribute to the real unsung heroes of the pandemic

Monika Yadav New Delhi | Updated on July 01, 2021

Rela Hospital, in association with Chennai Corporation, Illuminated Chennai’s Ripon Building in orange on Wednesday, highlighting the sacrifices made by doctors during the pandemic   -  BIJOY GHOSH

Doctors share their experience of working tirelessly during the pandemic

It’s been around one-and-a-half years since the Covid pandemic engulfed the whole country and no one knows when the virus will fade away. In these torrid times, our doctors have been serving day and night, like the soldiers who guard our borders, to protect millions of lives.

From being witnesses to so many deaths around them to working tirelessly without a break to getting themselves self-quarantined due to the fear of taking the virus home, the doctors were driven to the breaking point many a times during the pandemic. It has been an emotionally and physically exhausting journey for doctors – both at the personal and professional level.

Challenges galore

The most challenging experience was the unavailability of necessary Covid medications like Remdesivir, oxygen cylinders, and to meet the mounting demands for hospital beds, particularly during the second wave that claimed lakhs of lives.

Sharing his experience, Dr Arunesh Kumar, Head, Pulmonology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, said: “Convincing the attendant to procure the medicine from anywhere to save their loved ones was another uphill task. The whole scenario in the hospital was much dreaded compared to the previous year.”

“Even getting a bed for his own friends and relatives was a major challenge, despite being a healthcare professional,” he said.

“We used to feel heavy from inside that we are not able to cater to needs of the society. It was one of the worst phases I have seen in my professional life,” Dr Kumar added.

Meanwhile, watching patients dying up close them and being in the constant grip of a whirlpool of emotions was quite daunting. Dr Bhavika Bhat, a Mumbai-based ENT consultant, said the whole experience was utterly soul-destroying. “We have seen numerous deaths right from our medical school in the ICUs and the operation theatre. But I must admit that Covid deaths in isolation have been very disheartening for us doctors, too. These patients did not have any relatives by their side, which was traumatic for us also. A feeling that plays on our mental psyche even now and also of the near and dear ones,” she added.

Bhat continued and said wearing PPE kits for 7-8 hours has also been quite a challenging task, particularly in summers when people feel uncomfortable even in masks. She also lamented about not being able to see her parents for months altogether.

“There have been months together when I didn’t go to see my parents because of the constant fear of me taking the virus home. After some surgeries I have had to self-quarantine myself in a room,” said Bhat. She further said: “I had to perform many emergency surgeries without a Covid test report. The time till the report came was filled with anxiety and stress. I remember the time when I operated on a patient and the next day, he tested positive, I had a full bag of emotions.”


Pinning hopes on the country’s vaccination drive, Dr Akshay Budhraja, Pulmonologist at Dwarka-based Aakash Healthcare, said rumours about side effects should not stop anyone from getting inoculated.

“Do not risk your life to Covid because of fear of side effects of the vaccine. It is a long process as the world is getting mass vaccination for protection against this deadly virus, but this is the only valid solution to overcome and get back to normalcy,” he said.

Budhraja further said that during this time the biggest lesson he learnt was that the backbone of the whole hospital team is the nursing team. “They are the most important, courageous and under-appreciated group of healthcare workers. They are with the patients no matter what time it is, how angry the patient is, and how difficult the situation is.They are the real heroes. I respect them even more now,” he added.

Published on June 30, 2021

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