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Covid-19: Braveheart medical interns fighting tirelessly against the odds

Despite testing positive for COVID-19 a second time, Dr Bushra Amin—a frontline COVID-19 warrior did not step back in attending her duties and treating the infected patients.

Post by on Sunday, May 23, 2021

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Despite testing positive for COVID-19 a second time, Dr Bushra Amin—a frontline COVID-19 warrior did not step back in attending her duties and treating the infected patients.

Soon after her recovery, the intern doctor currently posted at Chest Disease (CD) hospital immediately joined back her duties and started treating COVID-19 patients selflessly without even caring about her health.

Bushra says that both the times she had more than mild symptoms but for her treating others was more important.

Not only Bushra, more than 200 intern doctors working at different hospitals associated with Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar and SKIMS Bemina are at the frontline to cure and treat the COVID-19 patients.

Rising Kashmir spoke to some of the interns to understand the challenges faced by the young medicos in times of pandemic.

Dr Bushra Amin

Narrating the incident, Dr Bushra said, “Yesterday I didn't even have hand gloves to wear in the COVID-19 ward but I couldn't refuse to overlook the COVID-19 patient. I was also afraid of getting infected especially when I saw other people my age dying.”

“I was extremely disturbed but despite the high risk of catching the infection, we interns are putting our lives at risk but unfortunately our work is not being recognized like other medical professionals who also are at the forefront in combating the virus,” she said.

Bushra also said that despite testing positive for COVID-19 twice, she did not step back in attending her duties and treating the infected patients.

“Both the times, I had more than mild symptoms but for me treating others was more important,” she said.

Bushra also said, “After first time in October-2020, I was again tested positive for the virus for some three weeks and both times I was on duty.”

Bushra says that interns and resident doctors frequently have to visit the COVID-19 wards to monitor the patients and are more prone to getting infected. “Interns mostly are in direct contact with the infected patients while dealing with them,” she said.

Bushra also said that in case of any emergency or help to the COVID-19 patients, interns are always at the frontline to deal with it and take care of the infected patients.

“Our working hours are at the par with the resident doctors and despite all that, the incentives are being given only to residents only,” she said.

Bushra is currently posted in CD hospital.

She also said, “Internship period for us was meant to learn but due to the COVID-19 we are not being taught anything and it is our loss but when the interns are being asked to work like resident doctors, then we deserve to enjoy the same perks and incentives which other doctors out there enjoy.”

Dr Tajamul Islam

Tajamul says that the internship period for them is basically a learning process and an aspiring doctor is supposed to practice during this period.

“In times of pandemic wherein the health-care is overcrowded with the patients, the work of interns to handle the infected patients is as good as resident doctors whether it is OPD or some other department,” he said.

Tajamul also said that interns are religiously following their duties even in the wards wherein only COVID-19 patients are admitted and are also more prone to getting infected.

“As the hospitals are overburdened with the COVID-19 patients, the workload on the interns has also increased,” he said.

The interns working in different hospitals also said that in the last week when the government announced perks for the frontline workers tackling COVID-19, only interns were excluded. “However the interns and junior resident doctors are handling nearly 90 percent of the workload,” Tajamul said.

He said, “We are being given a stipend of Rs 12,300 while the interns working in the hospitals of some other states on an average are being given a stipend of Rs 18,000 to Rs 25,000.”

Tajamul is currently pursuing his internship at Shri Mahraja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital.

Talking about the risk factor, Tajamul says that the interns are at risk all the time because they monitor and check the COVID-19 patients regularly.

“Among the 120 interns of Government Medical College (GMC), 130 interns of foreign medical graduates and private colleges and some interns of Jammu medical colleges, at least 30-40 interns were tested positive for COVID-19 so far,” he said.

Tajamul also said that most of the interns who were tested positive for the virus were on duty.

“In SMHS and CD Hospitals, interns were treating 100-150 patients pre Covid-19 situation and after the outbreak of COVID-19, the interns on an average are treating 70-80 patients including almost 20-25 COVID-19 positive patients,” he said.

Dr Abrar Ahmad

Abrar says that the intern doctors believe in humanity first.

“I was on duty on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Fitr and I believe that there will be no best Eid to celebrate by treating and curing the people on that auspicious day,” Ahmad said.

He said that the internship period for a doctor is an overview of the major clinical subjects.

“We were supposed to go through different departments but we are sacrificing all those mandatory works only to treat and handle the COVID-19 infected patient,” Ahmad said.

He said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the interns on rotation basis are being posted in different COVID-19 wards to overlook and handle the patients for at least 15 days and that is being repeated after every month.

“While the government is increasing or giving a hike in stipend for the frontline workers dealing with the COVID-19 situation, ironically only interns are being excluded who are at risk for 24 hours in treating the COVID-19 positive patients,” he said.

Ahmad also said that resident doctors and interns come in the first contact with the COVID-19 positive patients and during the night duty, only resident doctors and interns are in the hospitals on duty and have to face the high risks of getting infected.

Dr Misbah Kounain

Misbah says that interns sometimes while dealing with the COVID-19 patients are not even wearing the masks and they have to put on their masks by coming in very close proximity to them.

She said most of the interns were tested positive for the virus while coming in close proximity to the patients who were having more than mild symptoms.

“We work 24/7 and the government should recognize our efforts and should consider us as good as other doctors because we do work side by side with them,” Misbah said.

She said that interns are working as much as PG and resident doctors and the interns can't even go to their respective homes considering the risk of getting their family members infected.

“The recent orders which allow doctors and other frontline workers to enjoy the perks of incentives discouraged the interns because only we people were excluded from the list despite being at par with resident doctors in terms of work load and risk factors of getting infected,” Misbah said.


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