These have been very tough times for our doctors, and the paramedic staff. Fighting a disease that is yet to find a cure, and working in conditions that are very dangerous for their own health, doctors and paramedics have been exposed to risks in more than one way. Ever since this pandemic hit us, people around the globe have been highlighting the challenges faced by the healthcare workers, and discussing the ways to meet those challenges. In Kashmir, like elsewhere, initially there was a loud talk about the problems faced by doctors. Everyone would hail them for their extra-ordinary effort in managing covid patients. They were called as frontline fighters, and everyone empathised with them. Administration was time and again criticised for being lax in providing the necessary support to our hospitals. Even some civil society groups tried to chip in, and help in their own way. All this was a genuine response and doctors were deservedly at the centre of attention. But in the absence of a systemic focus, the attention started diminishing and doctors were once again left on their own. As is the wont, administration also started getting busy in other tasks and the emphasis started disappearing.
The result of all this is now in front of us all. As the days pass by we have more and more covid positives. It means we need more infrastructure, more protection for those who deal with these cases. It means we need more doctors, and doctors need more means to fight this battle. But have we succeeded in building up a matching response to the growing number of cases. As the doctors start speaking about the distress they are undergoing this time, it becomes obvious that we lag far behind. In the days ahead we are expected to have a spike in the covid positive cases, are we prepared to handle the crisis. Have we adequately armed our frontline warriors to take on this crisis. These doctors have already been there in the field for more than three months. We needed to replenish them with fresh energy. But the case seems to be contrary. The stressful situation faced by these frontline warriors is poignantly carried in this message from a doctor; “There is a strange conflict between expediency and morals, duty and responsibility, experience and common sense.” If a doctor is consumed by this dilemma within, how can he perform his duties.