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Thank you, Doctors!

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The COVID-19 pandemic has posed as a massive challenge to mankind. Our warriors in white coats have been undeterred and have taken this threat head on with utmost courage. We will overcome this pandemic with the frontline workers leading the way. On this Doctor’s Day we need to respect and appreciate them more than ever

Dr GS Grewal, Geriatric Expert & President Elect, Delhi Medical Association (DMA) mentions, “Some of the problems and obstacles are known to most young graduates, one hurdle which is realised later in their career is communication with the patient. The medium of teaching in medical college is English and most patients speak in Hindi or their local language; many complaints related to diseases have colloquial words to describe them, therefore merely due to lack of proper communication many times diseases are missed and quite often leads to patient frustration.”

Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder HEAL Foundation says, “For a Doctor to become a good listener is more important than diagnosis / prognosis and other knowledge and practice skills. It is very pertinent in the Indian scenario, where the doctor-patient ratio is amongst the poorest in the world. In such a scenario, most of the doctors have a tendency to cut short on what the patient has to say (listening) and jump on to the prescription, which at times may also result in poor quality of diagnosis / prognosis resulting in compromise in treatment. For such doctors, listening to their patients and families comes in the way of their elated egos and hence many a times the patient is at the receiving end and not satisfied at all. The patient does not complain, since they consider the doctor to be God.”

“Dealing with pandemic has had a significant negative impact on healthcare workers. Our homes too don’t have a protective layer from Coronavirus infection, we feel guilty when we step inside the house. There is a fear in our mind if we have taken enough preventive measures before interacting with the family. Just like a common man, we also need counselling at times to give rest to our anxious chain of thoughts. It’s really suffocating for a medical professional living with a sense of fear and paranoia and striking a balance between their personal and professional fronts. Constant fear of keeping ourselves and our family safe is taking a toll on mental and emotional health. It is imperative to recognise that mental health is equally important as our physical health and well-being and more than ever there is a need of counselling for everyone including medical professionals,” says Dr Ritu Hinduja, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Andheri.

“I feel gynaecologists are duty-bound professionals, who took the oath to be in service of their patients. Amid the ongoing health crisis, we bring the ray of hope in their lives. But during this whole process, we tend to forget our own mental condition. Sometimes, we constantly work without having a good night’s sleep. We ourselves live with continuous baseline anxiety and fear about the unprecedented situation, the moment we enter our homes after treating every sort of patient. Though we take every precaution possible in this situation, the fear is always there at the back of our mind. Every day feels heavy, regardless of the actual patient workload and all daily activities take more effort. The constant need to stay up to date with COVID medical updates on media and counselling your patient that nothing will happen to their newborns is causing burnout. No socialising outside work to refresh and recharge are also increasing the level of anxiety and depression,” said Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida.

Dr Rakesh Lalla, Consultant, Intervention Neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan mentions, “This Doctor’s Day I am having mixed emotions; there is of course pride, gratitude and honour that I can serve and cure my patients in these times of peril. On the other hand, there is fear, anxiety and sadness of losing my friends and patients to untimely death due to Coronavirus pandemic. COVID pandemic has changed the world and probably hit humanity like nothing has ever done before. This is an unprecedented situation; probably none of us ever thought of or were even trained for in our medical schools. Although this is major public health problem at this hour, we can’t forget other major prevalent diseases and that even those need to be treated. We are witnessing surge in COVID patients seeking hospitalisation, I feel the problem is even worse for non-COVID patients, as most people are scared to get infected and don’t want to visit the hospital at all.”

Dr Zakia Khan, Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan shared, “Last three months have been difficult for all of us. As a Cardiologist, I have seen patients with comorbidities suffering the most. Also, many of our cases who were presented with Acute Coronary Syndrome were presented late to hospital due to the fear of COVID-19. Many came in shock and acute heart failure; as a cardiologist I wished they had come in earlier. In Ischemic Heart Disease we say time is muscle, which means if you miss the ‘golden hour’ for treatment of heart attack, heart muscles get damaged permanently; no surgery or angioplasty is going to bring it back to normal. We also conducted some elective angioplasties and heart surgeries with utmost safety and care, with excellent outcomes, during the lockdown. This is one Doctor’s Day when I am really proud to be a doctor and a frontline worker.

According to Dr CS Pandav, Former HoD, Community Medicine, AIIMS, “One of the biggest problems I have personally witnessed in doctors is the lack of listening skills. Instead of reserving their time to listen to what the patient feels or has to say, the first interaction is just the doctor talking 80 per cent of the time. Physicians need to learn how to listen to their patient before embarking on a path of diagnosis; that is bound to save quite a lot of time.”

Dr Sachin Bhonsle, Sr Consultant, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mulund says, “Its been three months since the lockdown was imposed across the country and the entire healthcare machinery came to a standstill. Most elective procedures got cancelled and all resources got diverted to control the novel coronavirus. None of us would have dreamt of experiencing such a pandemic in our lifetime, yet it has happened and we have got to face it. We doctor’s were hopeful to get the grip on situation in a few weeks and start delivering care to our elective patients by mid-May, but it did not happen. It’s been three months now, and it is not right for all the patients waiting for elective surgical intervention. There are so many people with painful orthopaedic conditions like arthritis, who need reconstructive surgeries like knee replacement. We have not been able to provide mobility to these patients, as surgeries have been postponed because of risk of novel coronavirus infection. It’s time we got to deal with reality, the virus may be with us for the foreseeable future. We need to prepare for the ‘new normal’, and how do we go about it is the question. Patients not only need to be protected from this infection, they need an assurance of the level of care as was expected before. For that, the medical team providing care has to be safe and confident too. The hospital set-up has been modified in such a way that hospital stay, tests, anaesthesia and surgery should eliminate risks to both patients and healthcare providers. Hospital admission procedures have been streamlined so that patients are screened safely for elective ward admission.

Dr Hasmukh Rawat, Consultant Cardiologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund shares, “As COVID-19 pandemic continues, peaking is occurring; it’s been over 100 days and it is time to start the elective surgeries and procedures in patients suffering from heart-related complications. These surgeries are planned procedures and not optional. These elective surgeries are necessary, as delay could lead to an increase in disease severity, and possible death in the coming time. These are patients who are at present having no symptoms or mild symptoms, but they have critical narrowing of heart valve, severe leakage of valve, critical blockage in the heart artery (coronary) etc. They need surgery at the earliest as these are life-transforming interventions. If delayed for longer than necessary, it can impact surgical risk, post-surgical recovery and rehabilitation to a significant extent. Some cardiac surgeries i.e. angiography or stenting or bypass surgery, if necessary and not planned in advance, could be fatal or deteriorate quality of life, if delayed over months.

This pandemic has created fear amongst the public; we need to understand that the virus is going to be with us, and we have to get better by undergoing elective surgery if necessary, indefinite postponement may not be the answer. It’s the hospital duty to provide safe atmosphere, and to conduct all necessary tests and investigations. The patient and their relatives should be well communicated with, and taken in confidence for every aspect of the surgery. Healthcare workers are abreast with all directives and guidelines to protect the patient, themselves and their fellow caregivers. The reorganisation of OPD and reception will make patients feel safe and tension free to seek opinion for these elective surgeries. If the OPD is not approachable by the patient for some reason, then tele-consultation is a good option. But patients must seek opinion and plan for these elective surgeries before it becomes too late.”

Dr Sumit Mehta, Consultant Urologist & Andrologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi mentions “Since March 23 the country has been in a state of a lockdown. The fear of COVID-19 has prevented people from venturing out of their homes; this has unfortunately included fear of hospitals due to the risk of disease exposure. Since the lockdown we have been treating patients with ignored urological diseases; these include patients with urinary stones and prostate disease. These patients were either scared of visiting the hospital or deferred intervention for their disease in view of the pandemic and being exposed to the virus. COVID-19 is here to stay for a few more months at least. Ignoring any disease will only lead to its progression as we all know. Ignoring urological diseases especially, makes these illnesses present themselves in a more advanced and serious scenario. This includes advanced, often irreversible, damage to the kidneys and genitourinary system. Since the beginning of the lockdown I have treated a number of patients both in the out patient clinics and on indoor basis successfully. Proper screening of patients, precautions like social distancing, compulsory protective gear by medical personnel, hand hygiene and face masks by patients and their relatives have helped immensely. I have performed a number of urgent surgeries during the lockdown, with proper precautions in the operating room. These surgeries included minimally invasive laser surgeries for urinary stone disease, prostate diseases and urinary cancers. Most hospitals have deferred kidney transplants till now. We are making efforts to restart them after putting the necessary protocols in place. Delaying treatment will only cause more damage which may be permanent, and life threatening. Fear of the disease is causing more damage than the disease itself. Be cautious, stay safe and don’t fear visiting your doctor.”

Dr Vidya V Bhat, Laparoscopic Surgeon & Fertility Specialist and Medical Director, Radhakrishna Multispeciality Hospital, Bengaluru states, “On this Doctor’s Day, it is a great privilege for us to be in this medical field which is considered as one of the noble and elite professions. I am sure everyone who enters the world of medicine dreams of serving mankind and is mentally prepared to sacrifice so many things in life. It takes a lot of efforts to come out as a specialist and a super-specialist in the modern medical profession. The prime time of one’s life is spent burning the midnight oil and being on toes all the time working tirelessly for very long hours. Then blooms a doctor’s life which is full of responsibilities and challenges at every step. 

This profession gives a lot of satisfaction and recognition, and faith of the patients in doctors. It is a joy to see our patients recover or an infertile woman take home a baby and rescue the person from his suffering. End of the day, the ethics, sincerity and commitment in this profession gives us contentment and satisfaction. But now amidst the raging COVID pandemic, there is no such thing as light at the end of the tunnel. 

Doctors must realise that they are now the light themselves. Amidst all this chaos, we are being guided by a deep sense of ‘dharma’ and purpose to do what is right and not become paralysed by the outcome. I would like to say to all doctors to please take extra care of yourself and your near one’s health in these testing times. Humanity needs doctors more than anybody else at this hour. But it is important to take care of oneself first so that we can serve others better. Happy Doctors Day!”

Chintan Gandhi, Director, CEO, Millennium Herbal Care states, “I am personally glad that this day, is now mainstream. We are paying a huge price for it, but definitely all our COVID warriors, the healthcare professionals, and the medical staff need to be applauded for the commendable work they are doing in battling this invisible enemy. On this day, I would also like to remember the doctors of ancient India, who gave us the science to be resilient and strengthen our immunity, a science, which is mostly our contribution to the world with Ayurveda – the science of longevity; Yoga – the science of holistic health; Siddha – the science of natural ingredients and much more. In fact, the Ayurveda system of medicines, using herbs and other herbal components to cure ailments, has become the foundation on which the modern science of phytomedicines has been laid. On this day, I would personally like all of us Indians to remember this and be proud of our specific contribution towards the science of immunity which could be a boon to mankind, if understood and practiced more mainstream than before.”

Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO, Indira IVF says, ”Doctors are special and this year is one where we have seen them as our real life heroes. Doctor’s Day is an opportunity to thank all the heroes in the medical fraternity for their selfless contributions. They are pulling long hours and working round the clock as the world is gripped with this pandemic. We at Indira IVF, are ensuring special precautions for our doctors, healthcare staff, and patients with the best in-class protocols.  On this Doctor’s Day, Indira IVF salutes our true heroes.”

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