Infection, Covid duty take toll on AIIMS doctors

The resident wellness centre in AIIMS since Covid break out has been seeing nearly 16 cases of Covid-induced anxiety and burnout on an average in a month. 

Published: 26th September 2021 08:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2021 08:47 AM   |  A+A-

AIIMS-Delhi used as representational image.

AIIMS-Delhi used as representational image. (File | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  The past one-and-a-half year of the pandemic has taken its toll on the nerves of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) residents. At the resident wellness centre, the psychiatry department saw cases mainly for two reasons — one was the medicos themselves getting infected with Covid-19 virus which led to anxiety, and the second was severe burnout during the Covid-19 duties.

The resident wellness centre since Covid break out has been seeing nearly 16 such cases on an average in a month. “In the first type of cases, we saw the residents get infected. After the first and second wave, they developed anxiety and depression. In the second type of cases, there were those who were put on Covid duties. They were ill-prepared for it. They sort of got caught off guard,” said Dr Pratap Sharan, Professor, Psychiatry, the AIIMS.  

Dr Sharan added: “There were days when they (medicos) saw five-six deaths at one go, something they were totally unprepared for. They did Covid-19 duties for long hours. This led to traumatic anxiety.”

The resident wellness centre at AIIMS was first formed in 2004. Then the psychiatry department stepped in 2018 with a wellness clinic for its medical students and doctors. The stress was so high that it even drove a couple of medicos to end their lives at the premier institute.

“There are four stages where depression symptoms are categorised for redressal. The clinical intervention is required in the last two — sub-threshold which is treatable but subjective and super-threshold which needs treatment. Most students who came to the wellness centre were at the sub-threshold level. Problems were there but most of that didn’t reach the threshold level and no clinical solutions were needed. Yet, we saw some super-threshold cases, maybe five out of 100,” described Dr Sharan.

Last year at the AIIMS, two students committed suicide. In July, a 25-year-old junior doctor jumped off the 10th floor of the hospital building. Then in August, a second-year medical student jumped off the roof of the hostel. “Both the medical students were earlier admitted to the psychiatry department. They had severe diagnostic issues,” noted Dr Sharan. 


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