"Doctor Joshi we would like to make you an offer.
We want you to join back and help our teams in the COVID department. Would you be open for discussion?”
My name is Agastya Joshi and I am a retired doctor. I have been retired for sometime now and am running my own private practice. When I got called to rejoin the hospital that I had retired from, I couldn't let the opportunity go by. It sounded like a lease of new life--a burst of fresh momentum in my otherwise mundane life and so I threw myself into it.
I had joined on an agreement of 3 months, but it seems like a lifetime now.
I wonder if I even took the right decision.
The tidal wave of the patients never stops; private hospitals like mine have minimum government support but all the pressure. The hospital was literally coerced into becoming a COVID hospital. We work round the clock, with minimum protection. I have invested my own money for my PPE kit..the hospital ran out of them and put up its hands.
IT IS LIKE BEING IN A WAR...YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE NEXT ATTACK WOULD BE FROM...YOU DON’T KNOW HOW LONG YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF...OR EVEN CONTINUE FIGHTING..THE SOLDIERS (DOCTORS, NURSES, SANITIZATION STAFF, SUPPORT STAFF) ARE ALL SHOWING SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE EXHAUSTION AND MENTAL BURNOUT.
Though I like being useful at this crucial time, my family is stressed about the infection as I am of vulnerable age. I don't blame them as I am scared myself.
The pressure is not just of the virus, but not knowing how long the virus will last, we still do not have a vaccine, we don’t know who all will succumb to it and the crashing healthcare facilities...
I think I might take my leave after I complete the decided 3 months but then there is this feeling of guilt that creeps up because the staff is less and the number of patients is ever increasing… even though the choice is mine, I don't know what I should do; become a little selfish and take care of myself or try to be useful for others until my last breath…"