Resilience at the frontline...
Dr Madhvi Aya with her daughter and husband.
By Anshuman Bhargava :
“Dr Madhvi’s last message to Minnoli, her 18-year-old daughter was ‘concentrate’ (in your studies). This is not a one-off case, but now part of a sordid pattern of defeat that the deadly contagion has woven, ripping across nations and peoples and scarring them for generations.”
Doctors are the frontline warriors against corona across the world and they are paying heavily for their selfless service. While expectations are high from them and equipment is scarce, they have to fight on multiple fronts. They have to brave government pressure and the ire of patients’ kin. They have to save lives in limited time, space and resources as multitudes are rushing to the hospitals. They have to take care of their own health and the safety of their family. Many doctors are working constantly for 12-13 hours a day, while many are not even going home at night. Separated from their family and working under exceptional stress, there is no succor for the medical fraternity. Doctors are the most susceptible to get the virus since they are in closest contact with the patients and several of them across nations have succumbed due to Covid-19.
Many hospitals worldwide woke up late to the seriousness of the infection and provided medical kits to the doctors and health workers much later. Many countries were short of the safety kits and took the time to make them available. This enhanced the vulnerability of doctors and the disease spread rapidly among them. In the US, an Indian doctor Dr. Madhvi Aya, 62, passed away after days of attending to corona patients in the hospital she worked. She leaves behind her 65-year-old husband, her octogenarian mother and her daughter, who is still in her teens. She relentlessly served corona patients for days in the end at the Brooklyn Hospital, before she fell ill and finally passed away a few days back, leaving the family distraught.
Her daughter was left so disoriented after Dr. Madhvi’s death that she continued to text her on her phone, saying ‘Miss you mom’ and ‘I need you back home’. The 87-year-old mother, who suffered a stroke last year, is yet to come to terms with the loss and so is her husband. The three can’t even hug each other at this time of grief as they are practicing social distancing at home. Dr Madhvi’s last message to Minnoli, her 18-year-old daughter was ‘concentrate’ (in your studies).
This is not a one-off case, but now part of a sordid pattern of defeat that the deadly contagion has woven, ripping across nations and peoples and scarring them for generations. Hundreds of homes have been broken, thousands of precious lives lost, dreams shattered and humanity beleaguered. And the scariest part is that the war sees no end – it wages on in a dark alley with no spec of light to lend hope. We never know who is going to be the next victim. Every doctor today fears for his life. And with the loss of each doctor, we are going a step back and losing our fight against corona by a notch. We as common citizens may not be able to do much at this point, except praying for them and wishing them health with all our heart, but those in power—the governments – must leave no stone unturned to keep doctors and nurses safe, by providing them the best safety kits and equipment and in time. That’s the least civil society can do and must do, leaving aside all other priorities. For if we don’t stand by doctors at this time of a great catastrophe, we mustn’t expect them to stand by us at our times of need.