India saw yet another alarming spike in Covid cases today with 3.32 lakh fresh infections in the world’s biggest-ever daily rise. With the country’s healthcare system buckling under the weight of frightening surge, doctors and frontline workers are overburdened as they try to save lives.
A doctor shared her experience of being on the frontline amid the battle against Covid. “I’m a first year resident doctor; the first death I ever witnessed was on 30th March 2021-a COVID patient was admitted into our ICU the previous night. His condition was critical, but since he was only in his 40s, I thought he’d pull through. But the next day, he succumbed-I went numb (sic),” Dr Saandhra Sebastian has been quoted as saying by “Humans of Bombay”, which catalogs “the beat of the city, one story at a time”.
Her coworkers at the time re-assured her by saying that “2020 was much worse”. “But it didn’t take long for 2021 to supersede 2020. Now, at least 5 critical patients come in everyday; 2-3 of them die on a daily basis,” she stressed.
A lesson that she has learnt “the hard way” is that “when you are in the Covid ward, nothing really works,” she said, recalling the death of a 22-year-old patient. “Everyday, his 50-year-old parents would ask me, ‘Will he get better if we feed him fruits and veggies?’ and then they’d reassure themselves by saying, ‘Prayers can do miracles, he’ll never leave us.'”
She has witnessed “the worst in the last two weeks,” the post shared on Facebook, which quotes her, says. “The last words of one of my patients before being taken into the ICU was, ‘I have a 11 and 4 year old at home… I want to live.’ But a few hours later, I had to tell her children that they wouldn’t get to even see her body one last time.”
“My mental health has diminished; sometimes, I even dream of death. The only thing that keeps me going is that every day I’m out there, the chances of saving somebody’s life increases. I’m working as hard as I can,” reads the post which has been liked by over 50,000 people.
Dr Saandhra Sebastian is not the only doctor who is witnessing the Covid crisis unfold before her eyes.
Echoing her sentiments, Dr Liza Bulsara, a pediatric hematologist, explained in a Facebook post how the pandemic has been exceptionally difficult for healthcare workers and their families. Her husband is also a doctor and is in-charge of the Covid-ICU in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar. In her Facebook post, she explains a typical day in her life and the struggles faced by her husband, stressing that doctors are often at the risk of facing abuses.
Amid all this, they are making a lot of sacrifices. “We have not visited our families since two months. My in-laws live 2 km away and my family lives 400 kms away. We don’t allow anyone at our place. Anything that moves in-out of house has to go through the whole sanitisation process,” she says.
“We are tired of telling people around us to wear mask but ofcourse terrace walk and making wafers is definitely more important. It’s not lockdown but summer vacation for them . Government is at its best – politics of drugs, oxygen and lives!”
Stressing that Covid is “not a scam”, she says: “We are living it from past a year and its just getting worse with every passing day!”
Tragic stories of Covid patients struggling to find hospital beds are being reported from all over the countries. The government has repeatedly appealed to stick to protocols – such as wearing masks and maintain social distancing – to save lives.