By Sfoorti Mishra
New Delhi, Apr 22 (IANS): A heart full of hope, a positive mindset, and following the advice of doctors treating him helped a coronavirus patient, himself a doctor, survive the nearly 25 days of ordeal.
Dr Gopal Jha, 49, a resident of Dilshad Garden area in East Delhi, told IANS how he got the infection from a patient, struggled with what befell him and his family and succeeded in defeating the novel coronavirus.
Jha recalled that a woman patient with a travel history to Saudi Arabia visited him on March 12 at a Mohalla Clinic where he was posted. "She complained of difficulty in breathing, cough and fever. As soon as she said she had returned from Saudi Arabia, I gave her a mask to wear and wore a N95 mask myself. I referred her to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and sanitized my clinic. She was in my clinic for just four or five minutes. Therefore, I did not think even once that I could get infected by coronavirus."
"My Chief District Medical Officer later called up to inform me that the patient had tested positive for coronavirus. He asked me to close the clinic and send all staff in self-quarantine," he said.
Hearing this, Dr Jha recalled, he went to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital for a check-up. His family also gave samples for testing.
"I turned pale when I heard my wife and daughter had also tested positive. But thankfully, my son and 85-year-old mother, a SARI patient, tested negative. My daughter and wife were asymptomatic and admitted to the GTB isolation ward," he said.
On March 18, he too was admitted to the GTB Hospital. "On March 18, my symptoms had started showing -- mild cough and high fever. My report on March 20 came positive. My chest X-ray and blood test were done on March 22 and I was referred to the Safdarjung Hospital. On March 23, I was admitted at the ICU as I developed severe breathing difficulty and loose motions. I was put on oxygen."
Jha said that despite what he was going through, he never lost hope."I was treated by the best doctors and so I kept my mindset positive. I followed all instructions given by the doctors. I was also counselled regularly that I will defeat coronavirus."
"On April 5, I came to know that my last two reports were negative. Finally, I was discharged from the hospital. The doctor advised me to strictly follow the 14-day home quarantine regimen. My mother was the happiest person the day I came back home from hospital. I wanted to hug my son but I restrained myself," Jha reminisced. His wife and daughter were discharged from the GTB Hospital the next day.
Jha said that he wished to send out a message to people not to lose heart but follow all advisories issued by the government.
"That is the only way to remain safe," he said.
He also condemned the attacks on healthcare workers. "People should understand that stigmatising health workers will not help. We are risking our lives to save patients. If the morale of the health workers goes down due to such behaviour, how will they fight this pandemic?" Jha remarked.