Frontier India interacted with Minimole Varghese, Chief Nursing Officer, Fortis Hospital, Mulund to understand the ongoing pandemic situation first hand and the COVID-19 third wave. Ms Varghese has been on Coronavirus prevention duty right from the beginning of the first phase and has entrenched herself at the frontline ahead of the next possible onslaught. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) recently conferred Minimole Varghese a ‘Special Award for COVID 19’ to recognise the work done during these unprecedented times of COVID 19.
Excerpts from the conversation
Q. What is the situation right now according to your observations?
Ans: The situation is getting better considering the decreasing footfall in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Units (ICU) and wards. But this cannot be a ray of hope for us as of yet since we may be having the third wave glancing at us waiting to devour the vulnerable and unvaccinated population. We should not lower our guards yet!
Q. During the unlocking phase, when the pressure reduced a little and when the second wave hit, the pressure suddenly increased multiple folds again. How has the medical staff been dealing with it?
Ans: The medical staff were better prepared for the second wave as compared to the first wave. There sure are many instances where the Medical Infrastructure was under a lot of pressure. But the learnings from the first wave of the pandemic had helped much in the development of policies and protocols. More and more medical staff came forward to work in the COVID units as they were confident in managing COVID patients and were rest assured that their health was of prime importance for the hospital management.
Q. What is your outlook on the moral compass of people in the current time when people desperately need medicines and drugs, and those people are taking advantage of the situation and racketing and hoarding of these drugs?
Ans: It is really heart wrenching to see some people taking advantage of the crisis situation and instead of coming forward to help the community are causing much pain and suffering to the needy. It is completely unethical to have such a self-centered, profit minded, attitude towards fellow citizens. Such people should be surely taken to task for such behavior that makes us lose trust in humanity.
Q. What is the state of mind currently, what has been mental state of nurses and other front-line workers who are in direct contact with the virus and have to risk themselves
Ans: Most nurses working in the COVID units have volunteered themselves to provide this service to the COVID patients. They are quite confident and mentally strong enough not to be stressed by the emotionally draining situations they come across each day. Though the fear of contracting the virus does exist they still keep up the daily fight with COVID-19 and ensure their patients receive the best possible care.
Q. During the first wave, people were discriminatory towards doctors and other medical staff who were dealing with COVID-19 patients. How has the perspective of people towards you and other medical staff has changed till now?
Ans: Personally, I have not come across such a situation where I was held up anywhere just because I am a healthcare worker. This continues till date and I feel proud of the same. My family members, friends and housing society members have been very supportive throughout the pandemic. But if any other medical staff across the nation or the world, faced any such problems during the pandemic then it most certainly is hurtful. But I believe that people have developed a better understanding now and are supportive towards our Medical Staff aka COVID-19 Warriors.
Q. Any advice, tips, or something you would like to share to those who are infected and are either in hospitals or home isolation?
Ans: One suggestion I would like to give to the ones infected is not to feel guilty of having contracted COVID-19 or be angry at someone who might have been a reason for you being infected. Just focus on your health by rigorous monitoring, having adequate nutrition and a good rest. Follow your Doctor’s advice stringently and do not try to judge and resolve things by yourselves. Finally, do not panic and stress too much. Things will be good soon.