Well, I am a doctor who cleared MBBS in 1977 at Maulana Azad medical college, Delhi and have had a pretty long professional carrier.
These are my views about the state we are in nowadays.
There are two scenarios which may confront a doctor today in the days of Corona epidemic.
The first I don’t want anyone to encounter is that he becomes Covid positive himself.
The second, equally dangerous, is that he comes in close contact with a Covid positive patient during his professional duties.
The first scenario is a nightmare no one should experience.
Your best friends avoid you.
The hospital you work for abondons you. No ambulance driver is ready to take you to hospital for admission.
Well, if a doctor refuses to do his duties, you can complain to the Medical Association. But, can you get the driver license cancelled if he refuses to take the Covid patient to hospital. I don’t know.
Further, none of your colleagues, and the hospital administration may be there to see you off to the admitting hospital.
Now, come to an interesting observation.
Which hospitals are benevolent enough to admit you. We all are aware of the state of government hospitals. Only two or three private hospitals will take you, and that also if you pay an advance of five lacs from your own pocket. Hospital where you work won’t take responsibility.
This, I feel, makes the sacrifice of a doctor more than an injured soldier, who gets at least good treatment in an army hospital free of cost.
After admission, staying alone, with no attendents, at least for two weeks, with only your phone as company is another nightmare one can delve upon.
You keep on talking to your self knowing that anyday you can develop breathlessness and then suddenly die in two days.
What must be going on in minds of Nirbhaya killers prior to their hanging?
Well, fear is fear. Fear of impending death is the same you experience prior to hanging, or while suffering from a disease with an uncertain future.
If you are young you survive.
If you are above 60, you may go up.
More than seventy five percent who have died are above sixty in India.
Now let’s come to another scenario when you have examined a Covid patient with out wearing the protective equipment.
As per guidelines of the government of India, you are under quarantine.
This is a milder term used for house arrest.
Because this information is circulated to all police stations sorrounding your locality.
Your phone is put on surveillance.
You get a police man calling you daily asking that you have not gone out of your home.
If you have done so, you may end up in a government hospital in a dingy ward with real corona patients and your being sent there in a police van being filmed, circulated and made viral by videos in social groups by our sadistic society.
Let’s analyse the response of various people when you are put in quarantine.
We can divide the responses generated to this entirely unexpected quarantine as asked by the government into the ones exhibited by the society in general,and those by the patients you have been treating, and also those that are of the RWA of the area you are inhabiting.
But writing about that only does not do justice to what you really experience.
Response of your family,and of the administration of the hospital you work for, and above all, your own response to the predicament you are in, makes you think and force you to jot down your experiences as I am doing.
Our society is a hypocrite society. Respect that a person gets in our society is determined by the amount of money he earns. Character, integrity and moral values have taken a back seat since long. Society does not bother at all if a doctor gets corona. Society is not sympathetic.
Rather the response is self centred.
When the government staff came to put the red sticker in front of my house, my neighbour looked at me as if I have committed a crime.
He rang me up in five minutes.
It was not a courtesy call.
He asked me formally that a day before he had exchanged pleasantries with me on the driveway and stood with me for five minutes. How much chance was there for him to be infected from me? He was not bothered about me or my well being. It took me a lot, but without results, that I don’t have an infection and it’s just a precautionary step.
Barely had I rung up, another neighbour, staying a few houses away, rang up inquiring what had happened.
I was surprised as to how he knew.
Oh, it’s all over Whatsapp, the sticker with your name.
RWA has circulated the photo of the sticker.
It’s another matter that RWA also issued a circular not to go around the area sorrounding the Sehra Clinic for residents of Punjabi Bagh.
Then came the phone calls.
It started ringing as if it’s my birthday and people want to wish me.
The tone of people ringing me up was not at all sad and of those who seemed bothered about my health.
It is as if you get some exciting news of a public or political figure that he has developed cancer or has been raided by police.
“Oh sorry to hear that you are in quarantine. Please take care. What happened?
I know you will do well. Anything I can do for you.
Remember I came to you two days back. I hope you were not infected then.”
You don’t really bother about these minor issues.
Problem is with the own psychology.
What if I develop corona.
I am above sixty.
I have high blood pressure.
I have diabetes.
They will shift me to LNJP hospital.
I know how it is.
I was there from 1973 to 1986.
I still remember the dilapidated wards and red blankets there.
You sleep daily with these thoughts.
A sneeze you otherwise would have ignored suddenly makes you panicky
Your left arm goes numb occasionally.
Is it a symptom of covid?
You frantically search google and get even more alarmed.
All sorts of symptoms are described in Covid.
But the worst in my case is yet to come.
I don’t sit with my aged mother for a week and don’t go to her lest she catches infection from me if I am a carrier.
And she is in complete heart block I am unaware of.
And I can’t leave my home and take her to Dr Chanana or Dr Vineet to my hospital because I shall be indulging in illegal act and they may put me in jail.
I leave her care to my brother.
It’s a different matter that he takes her care in a manner I might not have been able to.
But the pain of not being able to do anything for the person whom you love the most when she needs it is something that this quarantine has taught me.
Imagine an efficient machine making money in a factory owned by an industrialist.
Imagine the machine getting some malfunction for a fortnight and the frustration of the factory owner. This is how the management reacts when a doctor gets quarantined.
I hope one day this society becomes genuinely bothered about the doctor.
But I doubt it
Dr Devindra Sehra