Exhausted, helpless, doctors struggle to keep sinking health system afloat in India
Tanuj Chauhan, a 25-year-old residential medical officer at Metro Hospital in Gurugram, has lost six patients under his supervision in April. As he struggles to find the strength to put on a brave face and provide moral support to his patients, the young doctor who is barely a year into the profession, says, “The situation is very critical. I can see the faces of the patients whom I have lost to this virus.”
Treating Covid patients, providing them the emotional support to help keep them calm while also dealing with the constant fear of contracting the infection are some of the many battles that Chauhan has been fighting since he got his medical degree in August 2020.
“Whenever patients are admitted to the Covid ward, there is only fear in their eyes. And our job, as health professionals, is to not only give them medical care but also emotional support,” says Chauhan, adding, “Since the patients do not get to see their families, we act as one.” But like most health workers, he has avoided meeting his own family for months for the sake of their safety.
With the number of Covid cases touching highest-ever levels in April, the pressure on doctors like Chauhan is mounting. On Thursday, India reported a massive surge of 379,257 cases and 3,645 deaths, marking the biggest single-day spike, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.