For long, despite the obvious virtues and sacrifices their work entails, the medical profession and professionals have been regarded as soft targets. Innumerable accounts of unfortunate incidents where aggrieved individuals and parties of the sick and the deceased have summarily held doctors responsible for the misfortunes to their dear ones are still rife the world over. In places such as ours, armed terrorists and banned extremist groups have been targeting the medical professionals for ransoms and monetary demands, often resorting to violent means to intimidate and frighten them into submission. These medical professionals have so far bore the brunt of such unwarranted and often violent intimidations with quite calm and dignity, instead focusing on the very responsibility of saving lives they have been trained and sworn to perform.
Cut to the present- the world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and people the world over are bracing for the worst which is yet to come. While the frantic rush to find a cure is on, these silent angels are at the frontline of a war whose enemy is unseen and hitherto unknown. Many of these medical professionals have already lost their lives while many more are fighting for their lives. Amidst the chaos and already overstretched capacity for equipments, provisions and manpower, these brave souls are standing as a bulwark against the onslaught of COVID 19 with nothing much more than their unshakable moral strength and professional courage. The scenario in the state at present is slightly better, but tension is already mounting and there is a growing sense of concern with one more confirmed case of the dreaded Coronavirus infection. The unfortunate development which could have been prevented points to the fact that even with the strictest and most severe steps by the authorities, the ultimate decider of our own fates are ourselves. The present lockdown is expected to be imposed more severely and stringently, and should be so as some of us have failed to perform or neglected our social responsibilities in this time of great crisis thereby putting others at grave danger.
There is however a silver lining to the dark cloud of fear and uncertainty hovering over the state with proactive measures being taken up by the state government as well as the heads of the medical institutions. For instance, at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) which is one of the premier medical institute in the NE region, with the arrival of 15 ventilators which are a necessity in the treatment of COVID 19 patients during the later stages, the total number of ventilators have been pegged at 35, with another 35 arriving within a couple of days. A new ICU, SICU and new Trauma Centre have also been completed as well as a new dyalysis unit while a new Dental College building and a new Nursing College has also been completed construction. Various essential and improved state of the art equipments like X-ray machines, neurosurgical equipments, Ultrasound, MRI etc just to name a few have been procured. New premier and special wards have been prepared while new coursed in DM Nephrology and MD in Sports Medicine has been added. MBBS seats have been increased by 25%. A large number of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs) which are vital in the treatment process of COVID 19 infected patients are already with the state authorities and provisions for procuring additional quantities to meet any eventualities are already made. In addition, the Chief Minister has announced the construction of a dedicated hospital for treatment of COVID 19 patients.
While the proactive steps taken up by the state government and the medical professionals have helped ease the rising concern to an extent, these should not be cause for neglecting personal hygiene or disregarding the lockdown which is in effect at present. Meanwhile, regarding social distancing, in the USA and European countries, the distance between two individuals have been revised to be two metres as per recommended by experts. We should therefore keep in mind the dos and dont’s and follow then strictly as the outcome of the ongoing war against this deadly and highly contagious unseen enemy will ultimately depend upon the diligence and discipline of each and every one of us. We will be contributing to the fight by remaining indoors and keeping social distancing strictly. Let us show our respect and appreciation for the tireless efforts of the silent angels and others who are out in the streets so that the rest of us can be safe from harm’s way.