April 20--a mob in Chennai tries to stop the burial of Dr. Simon Hercules, a neurosurgeon who died while caring for coronavirus patients. The mob attacked the ambulance carrying his body because it believed that burying the doctor would spread the virus from the cemetery to surrounding areas. Shocked? Angry? Stunned? At the insensitivity of the people?
Imagine the plight of the doctors and the nurses who not only have to live surrounded by the virus, while treating the patients but also have to worry about their safety from being assaulted when they step out of the hospitals.
Just like anyone else, these healthcare workers too are worried about the situation. They are scared of the infection inside and the mob mentality outside. Add to it their exhaustion. “I am so tired, I don’t even get to rest for more than 4 hours the whole day and all of this for what? My own neighbours think of me as a contagion during this pandemic. The very people who would come running to me whenever they were facing some kind of health issues are the ones treating me like an untouchable. I’ve even stopped wearing my uniform while commuting to the hospital anymore because I am scared about being attacked by a random stranger on my way,” says a worry doctor on conditions of anonymity. His plea
“I just want our fellow citizens to know that ‘We can save your lives’ but for that ‘You need to protect us too'. Please don't attack us. We are trying to save lives by risking our own.”
COVID19 has proved the toughest for our healthcare workers and our frontline warriors. They go into frequent quarantines as soon as they show any symptoms of the virus, are always anxious for the safety of their family besides themselves, and constantly struggling with mental issues--loneliness, exhaustion, mental stress, nervousness, anxiety, anger at people not being responsible enough--that seem never ending.
But we can help them by
- Not being antagonistic towards them and instead being kind, cooperative and supportive.
- Educate the people around us about the spread of the virus and eliminate myths by sharing information from reliable sources.
- Help people understand how healthcare workers are taking optimum levels of precautions while working with COVID cases.
- Respect the frontline healthcare workers. Help them by staying indoors, addressing their needs, and not showing hostility towards them.
- Show empathy and compassion.
Also, though the death of a loved one is hard to come to terms with, do not blame them for it. Understand that they are doing their best to save each and every patient’s lives.