On National Doctor’s Day, Dr Pradeep Gopinath Nayar, Senior Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Malar Hospital, shares his experience of working during the Covid-19 pandemic. “I’m a first-generation doctor. People in my family are all either engineers or army personnel. There was no guidance from them because nobody knew the nature of the job.
I went on to pursue my MBBS and MD from Rajendra Institute of Medical Science, Ranchi University, Jharkhand and cardiology from Southern Railway Hospital, Perambur. I specialised in cardiology for the obvious reason that heart problems were commonly prevalent among people. I’ve completed 35 years in this field. There’s no looking back. The profession was highly thought of in those days, but a lot of things have changed with time.
Especially, the last few months have been hectic and there’s no denying that. While our overall workload has come down, the stress level has shot up. I’ve been going to the hospital in case of emergencies during different times of the day. Our profession demands that we need to treat all patients without hesitance under all circumstances. Despite testing our patients for corona, I’ve come twice in contact with positive patients and had to quarantine myself.
It’s risky and dangerous. Until you wait for the test results to declare that you are negative there’s going to be tension in the air at home. I try to take the mandatory precautions so that my family does not get affected. More than the exposure of getting the virus, it’s the stigma in society that worries us the most.
I live in an apartment and I’m the only doctor in my street. There are apprehensions among my neighbours and it’s apparent. We are on the same boat as you are. In fact, we will be more cautious so that we don’t spread to others.
It would be really helpful if you can be empathetic with us and not add to our existing psychological stress. Among colleagues, we keep checking on each other through WhatsApp messages. With extra time in hand, I’m trying to meditate, read books and listen to some music. After a point, you cannot change the perception of the people around you but work on your own mental health to sail through this situation. Unless you wear the white coat, you cannot get even the slightest idea of what the life of a doctor can be like. My message to aspiring doctors is to join the profession only if you want to do good for humanity.
Do not base your motives on money or materialistic aspects. Once you come into the job, there’s no going back. It’s going to be a learning experience every day. If you don’t keep areas with advancements then you will fall aside. My only wish on this day is for a well-prepared public health system to ensure no such situation arises in the future. Problems must be anticipated well in advance and people must be well informed. There should be transparency and adequate resources to face any kind of challenge.We all want a safe world where people can live peacefully.”
(As told to Vaishali Vijaykumar)