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Doctor’s Day Exclusive: 'We Will Survive This Together'; Doctors Respond To COVID-19

Every year, National Doctor's Day is celebrated on the 1 July in India. The day honours doctors across the country for their selfless and noble service to the society. In India, Doctor's Day is celebrated to honour the legendary Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, who served as a physician, a freedom fighter and an educationist.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals from all levels are making headlines, due to their compassion and hard work to save the ones suffering, all-day and night. Along the lines, violence against doctors in different parts of India has been making headlines as well.

The theme for National Doctor's Day 2020 is "Lessen the mortality of COVID 19," which includes the awareness about asymptomatic hypoxia and early aggressive therapy [1].

On this Doctor's Day, let us take a moment to thank the heroes who, without a moment of hesitation jump to the forefronts in the fight against the global pandemic that continues to take the lives of people around the globe.

Boldsky reached out to doctors around the globe and asked about their opinions and concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the new normal.


1. Dr Alex Maliekal

Dr Alex Maliekal hails from Kottayam, Kerala and works in Acute medicine at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, UK. According to him, "Covid 19 has made me realise how little we know of ourselves. Fever and cough used to be "just a viral fever" but never did we imagine it could get us all locked down and bring new normality." Highlighting the importance of personal hygiene, he added, "We have been fighting the disease in the forefront with PPE however the single most effective method to keep the virus at bay is a proper hand wash technique. As much as we would love to go back home after a hectic duty in the PPEs, a sense of fear sinks in which makes us stay away from our loved ones. The duty has changed to a 3 day on 3 days off schedule so that we are not exposed to the virus at the same time."


2. Dr Clinty Cyrus

Dr Clinty Cyrus, a native of Ernakulam, Kerala works at Lisie Hospital, noted for its service to the poor. "Ever since COVID-19 started it is always tough to be a medical worker because people have their hope on us and we have the responsibility to reach up to that." She spoke about the sudden changes her hospital had to undergo due to the pandemic and how they succeeded in overcoming the challenges. "As months go by, cases were piling up and we faced a shortage of medical workers. Even though we were also afraid about the pandemic and getting infected, it felt very good to serve through the tough times. It is indeed a proud moment to be a doctor and to serve people selflessly."


3. Dr Arya Krishnan

Dr Arya Krishnan works at the Frimley Park Hospital in England, where she deals with emergency cases. A native of Kerala, she spoke to us about working the COVID-19 shifts, "It has been quite challenging. Especially working as a frontline worker. The fear of possibly being infected always sort of loomed over us. There was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in the beginning." She said the constant worry the health workers were in and added that even though it was scary, it never stopped her from running to the fronts when her work required her to. "You worry about your family, worry if you'll make it to the end. But this was something bigger than us and we were required to fight with all our might. And we did. We still are. The kind of support we've had in the department has really helped us get through this."


4. Dr Tasyoh Thampi

Medical Officer at Sunrise Hospital, Kerala, Dr Thampi spoke about the countless risks involved in treating a patient who had been exposed to the pandemic virus. "It is an alarming situation, especially when taking a sample from the patient. The insecurity at the workplace, the risk of getting family members infected and so on were always in the back of our minds. But, caring for the patients were always the primary thought." We are all here risking our lives, our families, saving you and your family. "Please cooperate and support us, and follow the guidelines. We shall overcome", he ended on a positive note.


5. Dr Asher Sherwin Christopher

A covid-survivor and a covid-warrior, Dr Christopher works at Marienhaus Klinikum Eifel hospital in Germany. "Waking up knowing there's a deadly disease out there to survive and waking up to go out and combat it because it's your responsibility are just two worlds apart."

"Just mounting that PPE and surviving in it for 8 hours through hunger, thirst, sweat was a feat. I'd be lucky if my pampers weren't soaked at the end of the shift. And you hope you haven't got infected with the dreaded pathogen." He continued, "It unfortunately happened. As someone who has been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 and been treated in the same hospital I've worked in, I've been on both sides of the net. I lay on the same beds my patients died on. And if I have a choice to be a doctor or a patient, I still would be perplexed. It is equally bad on both sides. In the end, it's sheer pleasure to see a patient walk up to you and thank you because they survived. We'll all live on to tell a tale worth telling."


6. Dr Annette John

Working in medicine at Frimley Park Hospital in England, this is what Dr John had to say to us, "Initially, it was quite a challenging experience as we were just pushed into the deep sea dealing with a new disease we barely knew anything about." She spoke about how it furthered the unity among the healthcare workers, "We were treating patients and learning more about the disease based on patients symptoms. I found it hard mentally when my colleagues became our patients but our entire team worked together leaned on each other, and took one baby step at a time, learning more day by day to fight this crisis and more than anything it learnt me to value the smallest and simplest things of life like the human touch and social interaction what I took for granted."


7. The Josephs (Dr Ann Joseph & Dr Joseph George)

A power couple doctor duo, the Josephs are indeed a shining example of the perfect couple. Dr Ann works as a Public health specialist (PPTCT) and said, "Back in the ‘90s, the HIV epidemic changed the world and today, the world is rewiring around COVID-19. The parallels I can draw around both these adversities are many such as food insecurity, financial instability, stigma. Lest we forget, these factors prevented access to healthcare and treatment, with HIV and today, with COVID. As individuals, we have to act responsibly during these difficult times, follow preventive social behaviour, every day, every time. As a society, let's try and be kind," she stressed the importance of being kind to one another.

Dr Joseph, who works at Hosmat Hospital Bangalore added, "This pandemic has brought with itself a 'new normal'. Wearing a mask to work has become just as essential as wearing a shirt!."


8. Dr Vineetha Ushakumari

Dr Vineetha Ushakumari, who works with Dr Arya at the Frimley Park Hospital spoke about the atrocities against doctors in India, stating that there is an urgent need for the government to protect the healthcare workers, be it of any level, especially during this pandemic. "Learned a lot because of this pandemic. Common people learned to listen to healthcare workers and the govt. However, I cannot say the same for India." She stressed on the infuriating conditions of healthcare workers in India and noted that "people in Indian should try and learn to appreciate health care workers. Be it a compounder or chief doctor." "Every one of them risks their lives for others. Almost all the doctors who work in India definitely must have had at least one really bad experience and the mentality that healthcare workers do not deserve much should be changed." She went on to say that, while the pandemic has indeed set a change in the course, more is yet to come and hope the healthcare professionals get the respect they deserve.


9. Dr Archana S Kumar

Hailing from Kerala, Dr Kumar, a dentist works at the S J M Dental College and Hospital in Bangalore as a House Surgeon. When she saw that the people in her home town were reclusive of the guidelines, she took it to herself to get the word out, encouraging people to follow the govt. guidelines. "I felt there was a need for timely and authoritative news at information is paramount in any way. So I contacted the local news channel and requested them to give me an opportunity to spread motivating messages through a song." She continued, "My mother too works in the frontline and the neighbours were initially hesitant to come near our place." "As this covid-19 continues to impact communities around the world let all of us feel content that we are in a position to make a difference in the present situation. We must embrace that. We the front line people," she ended on a positive note.

On this day, we at Boldsky would like to thank you all for your immense dedication to the society and its people. Happy Doctor's Day, heroes!

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