An article in the European Respiratory Journal talks of high-risk emergencies, where “the doctor is subject to several competing duties: 1) a duty to patients; 2) a duty to protect oneself from undue risk of harm; 3) a duty to one’s family; 4) a duty to colleagues whose workloads and risk of harm will increase in one’s absence, and 5) a duty to society.”
Coronavirus is one such emergency where the whole world is battling the crisis. the ones on the frontline, doctors and healthcare workers, are working excruciatingly hard for the welfare of the patients and to minimize the damage to the society due to the pandemic. Dr. Rakesh Garg, Additional Professor, Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, who is presently working at COVID-19 Facility, National Cancer Institute, AIIMS Jhajjar, said, “The disease is very contagious and till now we do not have any concrete solutions on how to manage it effectively which for us is the primary challenge. We always have to keep in mind that whatever we are doing for the patients should not be harmful, if it is not beneficial. We had to remodel the infrastructure into COVID ward keeping in mind various aspects.” There are many more narratives which reflect on the challenge’s doctors are facing during the time and how immensely they are contributing to fight this deadly virus.
It needs of hour to be grateful to these people who are saving lives and we must, by taking precautions to help them. Be it war, plague, pandemic- medical forces are among the brave souls who are there to fight and win. All specialization in the diverse field apart from physicians, surgeons have roles to play. Oncologists: May have to step in to manage emergency cases while juggling needs of immunocompromised cancer patients, Psychiatrists: Likely will need to tend to distressed COVID-19 patients, as well as the public at large, IMs and FMs: May want to step in to work in hospitals where they have admitting privileges, Neurologists: Likely will have to rely on telehealth to manage their patients and follow in the footsteps of IMs and FMs, Gastrologist: May want to pay close attention to severe COVID-19 cases experiencing GI distress, Pulmonologists, ENTs, and Ophthalmologists: may look out for the common early warning signs, as well as the loss of taste and smell, and possibly conjunctivitis.
There are various challenges in the corona times which they are facing. doctors and para-medical staff have to wear Personal Protection Equipment or PPE which comprises protective clothing, goggles, gloves, etc. But these are in short supply and expensive, which compels them to preserve resources. many doctors and nurses are now working non-stop work for 6-7 hours in one go, without any breaks. Many nurses and doctors have been complaining of fatigue, dehydration, and headaches due to the grueling schedule. The medical staff is avoiding water to reduce that bathroom break. Some are even using adult diapers to avoid washroom tip altogether. Rising temperature with an extensive PPE kit is also another issue.
Despite these challenges, they are toiling day and night to cure patients. They are at high risk, away from their families, and making a huge impact on society. We must salute them and appreciate the commendable work they are doing.