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Not just virus, Indian health workers also battle personal worries, emotional stress
Healthcare workers at the forefront of the war against coronavirus are not only facing the daunting task of handling patients, but are also fighting to keep their own worries and emotional stress at bay.
A doctor from a leading Mumbai hospital, who is currently home quarantined after he came in contact with a colleague who had coronavirus symptoms, said these times are challenging for everyone, including the medical fraternity. Even though his colleague tested negative for coronavirus, the doctor is not taking any chances as he has aged parents and a six-month-old son at home.
“I haven’t touched my baby since the last one month. Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, but I could not participate in the celebration since I am confined to a separate room in the house,” the doctor said.
He said some of them at the frontline of the COVID-19 war are feeling exhausted and running out of patience. He said wearing the personal protection equipment (PPE) and masks for long hours is also no mean task and makes them feel suffocated. “Still, there is no guarantee of protection against the virus,” he said.
“Most hospitals here have separate coronavirus disease ward, ICU and a dedicated medical team whose members work for five days and then are quarantined for seven days,” he added.
A nurse, who is ward in-charge in a city hospital, was initially quite worried when she was told last month that the medical facility will admit COVID-19 patients, and she and her team will be working in the specially created ward. The nurse said she then took it upon herself to stay emotionally strong. But, the fear of whether she and her family would be safe continued to haunt her.
“Fortunately, all patients who have come to us so far are stable and not like what we had heard about China and other countries,” she said.
The nurse said they also faced problems when the cleaning staff stayed away from work after the COVID unit was started. “We nurses had to clean the patients and also give them bed pan,” she said.
While she was all geared up for her work, she was earlier this month asked to remain in institutional quarantine for 10 days after she came in contact with a ward boy who tested positive for coronavirus.
“My test later came out negative. I felt God wanted me to continue my work. There is no fear of coronavirus now,” the nurse said.