COVID-19; Doctor Patient Stories

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The pandemic of COVID-19 is going to be very difficult for Nepal to deal with. We won’t be fighting with virus alone; rather we have to fight with poverty, humanity, irresponsible leaders and stake holders, demotivated health professionals, social media critics and many more.

We are far behind in the race of medicine. The general public won’t understand what positive pressure ventilation is, what intubation is or what a ventilator does. Keeping this pandemic far for a second, we don’t have enough intensive care facilities in our country.

And not every intensive care unit beds have ventilator. There may be ten ICU beds but only 4 ventilators as such. Every patient admitted in ICU doesn’t need ventilator. But every patient needing ventilator should be in ICU.

Ventilator is a machine that makes your lungs breathe mechanically. Not all patients infected with COVID-19 need ventilator. They might not even need ICU beds. Most of them will have mild symptoms and recover. But yes; they do need care and need strict isolation because major challenge is to prevent it’s transmission to everyone.

As an under-developed country, the very less severity or mortality of this virus will still be too much to pay. Playing blame games especially to doctors and front line health workers during this time of pandemic is creating havoc. “Deaths due to gross medical negligence, doctors denying patients, patients roaming hospital to hospital in search of health care” are the headlines we hear today.

When we ask soldiers to fight their battle without armor, they are bound to be defeated; the same fate healthcare workers will face tomorrow.  Adding to that, failing to acknowledge the need for personal protective equipment and compelling health care workers to fight the disease without PPE, for the sake of morality, is grave mistake.

Everyone is afraid; no one is immune to fear. The so called covid hospitals don’t have basic medical facilities. Horror stories of patients dying alone in their isolation wards are unfolding. The scenario may not be as bad as I portray but it isn’t any good either. Whatever efforts are being made, they are far from being sufficient.

According to recent data, 1 out of every 10 COVID-19 patients is a healthcare worker. What do I do with that 100% allowance when you are sending me without PPE and robbing me of my basic right which is the right to live.

A daily practical scenario: It’s your duty day and you have to wake up and go to ER with whatever PPE you’ve made locally. No proper mask, just a surgical one. The suspected patient comes to ER. Paramedics are scared to examine which is natural, I don’t blame them either. The case needs isolation, you collect sample and send it.

covid-19 doctor patient story
Dr Bharosha Bhattarai

I don’t know if he’s positive or negative for COVID-19. But precautions are to be taken. Everyone is scared to take care of the patient. Even I am. The fear is inevitable because you don’t have a certified PPE. The nurse on duty goes to home with the fear of transmitting disease to her family members. She’s worried and calls you.

You will have to assure her despite the fact that you are yourself scared. The cook is scared to prepare meals for the patient. The nurse is scared to take vitals. The lab is scared to take sample. I am scared to auscultate the patient. And I come to my room reading things in social media, PPE asked for cooking food, doctors die, young people die, Local PPE is like a trash bag it doesn’t protect and etc… just imagine the thoughts that run in my mind.

But what has to done needs to be done. We all should work from our level best to help fight this. I have my story to tell, so does the police man, salesman, milkmaid and many more heard unheard voices. But if we help us appreciate things that are done to our best, it surely is going to help us keep going.

When we know we don’t have enough weapons to fight the war the only logical and economical option for us is its prevention. Let it be spoken or unspoken truth, but our health facilities and infrastructures were neglected since forever.

We are going to face many deaths from COVID-19. Not because they won’t get ICUs or ventilators but because they won’t be able to get basic medical care. We are here with no weapons, and soon there will be no warriors.

It’s high time we buckle up. No one is immune to this. We don’t have better leadership, we don’t have better centers, and we don’t have enough service providers. The only shield we have is us, our gratitude, help, hope and motivation.

If you cannot get out of your house to help the world, don’t sit down and bash about the ones who are trying. Don’t criticize. Give constructive criticism. Motivate people around. Break the chain. Educate yourself. Keep updated. Give hopes to defeat this WAR!!!!

WhatsApp Image 2020 05 21 at 7.33.57 PM
Dr. Bharosha Bhattarai
Dhankuta Hospital

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