With second Covid wave, health workers face risk of burnout

But with the second and more severe wave wracking the country and state, these health professionals face the real possibility of a burnout.

Published: 03rd May 2021 03:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2021 03:11 AM   |  A+A-

mental health, depression

For representational purposes

Express News Service

BENGALURU: As the State is seeing an exponential jump in Covid cases, doctors and nursing staff who are overworked are under severe mental stress and worry that the quality of treatment of Covid patients would suffer if this continues. Healthcare workers have been working continuously since the onset of the pandemic in March last year. There was some respite in October last year when cases started going down. But with the second and more severe wave wracking the country and state, these health professionals face the real possibility of a burnout.

Dr Naveen Kumar R A, Internal Medicine Specialist Covid-19, Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences, said, “We are definitely overworked as there is a shortage of doctors and resources. We cannot even meet our parents. Back at my hometown in Chikkaballapur, all five of my family are infected. I cannot even see them as I have to perform my duties here. At Covid wards, we see at least 10-12 patients die every day. In the first wave, most of the casualties were of senior citizens, but now, a lot of patients in the 20-30 age group are passing away.

We feel disturbed and have sleepless nights. We are working without a break. In the first wave, we used to work six-hour shifts for seven days and then take a break of seven days. But now, we are working nonstop as there is a shortage of doctors in internal medicine. We have some interns, who we expect to fill in after the training.” Dr Suri Raju V, Chief Urologist and MD of Regal Hospital, said it is one of the toughest phases for healthcare workers. “Doctors are under severe stress. We earlier used to see 10-20 patients, but the numbers have increased to over 60 now.

Even healthcare workers are facing breakdowns. We have to manage Covid patients and also counsel their attendants. We are exhausted at the end of the day. At times, we face threats from relatives of patients which brings our morale down. We have shifts of 8-12 hours now, which is mentally and physically exhausting.” He said, “Cases should be distributed among all departments and all the faculty should be involved in Covid duty. MBBS and MS students too should be roped in. We fear that if doctors continue to work under such intense pressure it will affect the quality of treatment. They need adequate rest.”

Dr Gunasekar Vuppalapati, CMD, GVG Invivo Hospital, said that not just doctors, even the nursing staff, administration department and housekeeping staff are stressed. “The number of doctors and nurses is few, but we are trying to manage with the available resources. But it puts a lot of pressure on the existing staff. Earlier, we needed six nurses for Covid duty, but now, we require double that number. The administration department too is stressed as it continuously gets calls to arrange for beds. We need more human resources,” he added.


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