Providing care to patients amid a pandemic is a daunting task
Fear of getting infected by a virus that has brought the world to its knees, fear of an untimely death, fear of leaving his family behind --- a cocktail of emotions has had his mind in its grip since the first Covid-19 case was detected in Bangladesh.
However, he knew that no matter what, he had to stand by the oath he took as a nurse.
It was thus that a nurse at a hospital dedicated to caring for Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh shared his experience with Dhaka Tribune about what it was like to treat Covid-19 patients from the frontline.
“I would be lying if I say I am not scared, but I knew it was my calling to provide medical care for people even when my own health was at risk,” he told this correspondent.
He was doing his regular work at the pathology department two weeks ago. He had no idea the patient walking into the lab for testing would test positive for coronavirus.
“The patient tested positive and later I learned that he had died,” he said.
Like millions of other health workers around the globe, he too knew he might contract the virus from Covid-19 patients at the hospital and death might quickly follow.
He sees the struggle as a war against a pandemic.
“When a war breaks out, soldiers must be at the front protecting their country and its people. Right now, our job is the same, except that we are fighting against an enemy which is microscopic and can cause death by a simple touch,” he said.
He added that no war could be won without necessary equipment and in this war all healthcare workers should be provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
He works seven days straight at the hospital and quarantines himself at his Dhaka house for the next 14 days. If he does not show any symptoms in those 14 days, he is good enough to get back to work in the fight against coronavirus.
What is it that motivates him to show up at work every morning despite the risks of contagion?
In his words: “I picture my family in their [Covid-19 patients’] condition, lying alone on a hospital bed, gasping for breath, when none of their loved ones are at their side.”
For the first time in his life, he is relieved that his family is not living with him. He lives in rented quarters in Dhaka while his family lives on the outskirts of the city.
For the past few weeks, he has not had a chance to see his family in person.
“It is for the best. I do not know when this pandemic will come to an end, but I do know we won’t rest until the world is free of this deadly virus,” he told Dhaka Tribune.