Doctor's Day 2020: How are our frontline warriors are coping with the pandemic stress

Khevna Pandit
Wednesday, 1 July 2020

On this Doctor's Day, we speak to the frontline warriors to know more about their lives during the pandemic.

As we all gear up for another month of the COVID-19 lockdown, our frontline warriors have to fight a different battle. One glance at the statistics reveals the copious amount of strifes that doctors in our country are currently going through. Several medical professionals leave their homes every morning, without knowing if they will be welcomed in again. And there also are numerous others who live far from their families, after putting their lives on stake. 

As we protect ourselves by staying indoors, doctors in the hospital are fighting a battle against time. The COVID-19 outbreak has questioned our impaired healthcare system and has also challenged those who are fighting at the forefront. The grim statistics show the bodies piling up, but haven't managed to show the plight of those doctors who are working round the clock. This Doctor's Day, we spoke to those healthcare heroes who wake up every morning to embark on a treacherous quest; a quest to thwart the virus and extend help to those in need. 

Take a hiatus from the negativity: Dr. Atish Laddad 

Dr. Atish Laddad, Leading Pediatrician, Founder & Director at Docterz, prefers taking a break from the news now and then. "I have personally not experienced any social stigma, but these unpleasant experiences do arise, and our community is compelled to deal with the same," he tells Sakal Times. "I practice mindful eating, get enough rest on the days I am not working. I also engage in physical activity and take a break from the news and social media to keep myself away from unwanted stress," he adds. 

For Dr Laddad, reaching out to patients who suffer from other ailments is as important as looking out for COVID-19 patients. "We ensure that patients who are suffering from other ailments like malaria or dengue are getting timely treatment, thus facilitating them to recover speedily," he tells us. "At our clinic, we ensure that such patients are never denied admission. If the patient is not suffering from a chronic illness, which does not require him to be immediately hospitalised, we try and provide them with teleconsultation," he says. 

And while telecommunication is the future for the post-COVID world, Dr Laddad tells us that he misses a face-to-face interaction. "The pandemic has managed to limit the face-to-face doctor-patient interaction, which was the most crucial element in the pre-COVID world."

Living with COVID-19: Dr Prashant Borade

Dr Prashant Borade, Head of Critical Care Unit at Global Hospital in Mumbai, had moved into the hospital premises after getting infected with the virus himself. "We follow strict protocols for the patients," he tells Sakal Times. "We give them a questionnaire to fill regarding the symptoms if they have a fever, travel history, cough, and breathlessness. We evaluate the patients thoroughly. If any of the symptoms are there, then we do a CT scan of the chest. Then, if there are any changes, we admit the patient in the COVID ward," he adds. 

Dr Borade also stresses on how family support is of utmost importance. "It is easy to feel stressed at a time like this," he says. "Family support is a huge stressbuster. Sometimes, I take out time to watch television after getting home from the hospital. Likewise, I also listen to music," he states.

However, Dr Borade also speaks about how the times have been unfavourable for doctors during the pandemic. "This experience can't be described in words. We haven't faced this in the past. The medical experience we received is unlike anything we've seen before," he says. "We are still learning about the virus, and even though the cases are going up, we have managed to bring down the mortality rate somehow," he adds. 

No need for panic: Dr Pradeep Mahajan

"The COVID-19 situation is very different from the routine epidemic outbreaks that we see annually," Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher, tells Sakal Times. "We are used to treating a large number of patients with cholera, typhoid and dengue seasonally. 

However, COVID-19 is different considering its wide and rapid spread," he adds. While there is a sense of panic that goes along with the spread, Dr Mahajan reassures that it will soon be history. "The research is ongoing, and soon, we will have a definitive solution for the disease in the form of vaccines. However, presently the treatments being provided are effective. Although the disease will run its course, there is no need to worry about long term effects," he says. 

For him, stress during this time is best managed by exercising and eating healthy. "I also practise yoga regularly to keep physical and mental stress at bay," he tells us. "The ability to be able to provide healthcare services to individuals, especially in times of emergency, itself is a stressbuster. This is what we were taught to do, and being able to perform my duties keeps me stress-free," he concludes.

Pregnant women need a ray of hope: Dr Pratima Thamke 

Dr Pratima Thamke, who works as a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Kharghar, has taken it upon herself to look after expecting mothers during these testing times.

"With the world going through COVID-19 crisis, people are dependent on their doctors now more than ever, not only for their physical well-being but also for mental and emotional support," she tells us. "As a gynaecologist, my job is both difficult and exhilarating. It is a privilege to help my patients during these troubled times. To help so many women, who are feeling scared and vulnerable now, it is my duty to provide a ray of hope for all of them, who are giving birth to new lives," she adds.

For Dr Pratima, encountering all types of patients is regular. "Some patients are extremely co-operative, while others may be stubborn and haughty. Also, a few refuse to understand the situation of other patients who are going through labour or delivery," she tells us. 

She also adds how visiting a hospital at a time like this is nothing less than terrifying. "These are scary times to visit a hospital, especially if you are pregnant. Not only are you experiencing the anxieties of carrying a child, but you also have the added fear of contracting the virus if you visit a hospital," she says. "Expecting mothers are going through a rough time; it is my duty as their doctor to reassure them and ensure them that I will be there for them." 

To make their journey to motherhood as smooth as possible, Dr Pratima mentions how her smiling patients make her happy. 

"I believe that if you love your job as I do, there is nothing that can stop you from doing it. As I strongly believe that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going"," she tells Sakal Times. "Helping so many families, making their wishes come true, bringing new lives into this world, has truly enriched my experience of being a doctor. And I am fortunate to have a family that understands my line of work," she says.

Patient care is a service to God: Dr Bharati Dhorepatil

For Dr Bharati Dhorepatil, a Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility Pune, tending to her patients comes first. "Whether it is a COVID-19 patient or someone else, I believe in treating patients with compassion," she tells us. "My formula to de-stress is meditation. It relaxes my mind, calms me down, and helps me rejuvenate. It reduces those negative emotions and increases patience and tolerance," she adds. However, she also mentions how working with sheer dedication also acts as a stress buster for her.

Talking about her experience as a frontline-worker, Dr Bharati says, "My experience so far has been being fearless when it comes to my patients and me as well. I served the patients without a single day-break. It's my duty as a frontline warrior to be with my patients and provide them with round-the-clock care."

Because of the dismal circumstances, Dr Bharati speaks about how she misses the look of happiness from her patients. "Perhaps that is what I miss the most," she says. "The look of happiness on my patients' faces."

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