I’ve braved death, and came out more determined to cure people and help them live, says Mumbai pulmonologist
It was almost after two-and-a-half months of tending to Covid-19 patients at Lilavati Hospital that I first felt the symptoms. On June 11, I started getting back and body aches with no fever, cough and breathlessness.
After taking doses of Ivermectin and Doxycycline, the weakness increased, and one night I felt I was dying. It was on June 13 that I was rushed by the Lilavati administration to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) in emergency. I did not know what was happening and my situation kept deteriorating. I never thought I would make it.
A day later, I saw my wife being wheeled into the ICU, to the bed next to mine.
I thought of my son, and asked myself, “What will I answer to him if anything happens to his mother. And to me?” This single thought gave me the strength to fight. I wanted to be out of this space – the ICU – which had become a mess.
What was once a nice clean pleasant place, was struggling with overburdened staff – nurses who are spending countless hours in PPE [personal protective equipment] kits without water, tea, coffee and worse, without visiting the toilet. There are only two-three people to clean and give bedpans for 48 beds. Hats off to them for doing this day in and day out, going beyond their brief with a risk that they might be infected, and without complaints. ICU patients are being taken in irrespective of whether they are rich or poor or from any religion – everyone is equal and provided necessary help and medication.
After doses of Iv Rocezulimab and Iv Remdesivir over the next 10 days, I have finally made it home. Unfortunately, my doctor colleague who attended to me is now occupying my bed.
This experience led me to think about all the noise outside and react.
Firstly, the government has to stop going behind private institutions that are bleeding, and in fact help by providing necessary medication, which is not available. Do they want these institutions to shut down?
Patients want to file cases for being administered certain medicines, despite saving them, following ICMR’s [Indian Council for Medical Research] diktats. How fair is that? Especially when there is no vaccine or fixed line of treatment that can be applicable to all patients?
I also feel that managements of hospitals have to consider incentivising frontline Covid-19 health workers, such as ward boys and nurses, considering the amazing work they do.
There is too much stigma that people are attaching with Covid – housing societies showing high-handedness, exploiting their positions of power, not allowing house helps, vendors and other essential workers to visit people who genuinely need help. They are preventing people from leading a normal life. I appeal to authorities, the police and ministers to take cognisance of such people.
Today as I still lay weak in my bed at home, I am continuously getting calls for prescribing treatment and to seek help at the hospital. I feel thankful for the prayers and blessings of my people, and the hospital management, that my wife and I are alive.
I am hoping to get better soon, and back on my feet to be at the service of the people, to help them live. But I hope we can change a few things to help us get through this difficult phase. I have braved death, and came out more determined to do what I have left behind- cure people, and help them live.
(Dr Jalil Parkar, pulmonologist, department of chest medicine at Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre)