Dengue, chikungunya & now Covid — she is battling high-risk zones

Single mother, this Emergency Medical Officer has treated 150 to 200 patients in Covid wards in the past 2 months

Dengue, chikungunya & now Covid — she is battling high-risk zones

“When we enter a battle zone, we know we might be injured. But we go with our minds made up,” says Dr Harveen Kaur.

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 29

“When we enter a battle zone, we know we might be injured. But we go with our minds made up,” says Dr Harveen Kaur.

In 2010, while treating dengue patients at the high-risk zone of Primary Health Centre, Mehatpur, she got infected. In 2016, while herself treating chikungunya patients, she contracted the virus. This year, following two months of service in high-risk dengue wards – she tested Covid positive.

The viral load was too much. I knew, sooner or later, I might get it. On June 22 after coming home, I had body aches followed by headache and high fever. I wasn't traumatised or shocked. I knew it was coming. The only surprising thing was the aggressiveness of the fever. — Dr Harveen Kaur, an Emergency Medical Officer

PCMS doctor and a single mother, Dr Harveen Kaur, an Emergency Medical Officer (EMO) who had served at high-risk Covid wards of the Civil Hospital, tested positive for Covid a week ago. The 35-year-old who was tested for Covid amid severe symptoms has treated 150 to 200 patients in the past two months as an EMO. Better now, she says it is all a part of the medical profession, which she’s serving for the past 11 years.

Under home-quarantine for a week now, she has lost her sense of smell and taste and is about to spend another 10 days in isolation at the upper floor of her house as her family tends to her amid the pandemic.

At the ESI Hospital in April and March, where exposure to Covid was a constant fear, she had been serving in high-risk wards such as emergency, TB, ortho, ENT and de-addiction, where Covid patients were housed. At times, she had to tend to 80 Covid positive patients. Though her test report didn’t come as a surprise, she says.

Taking precautions to protect her 11-year-old daughter from fever, she was social distancing, staying separate and even teaching her with an N-95 mask on for a long time. But now, she has completely isolated herself in her bedroom, upstairs.

Cut off from the family, her brother keeps cooked food in utensils on the balcony of her room, from where she picks it up. She washes her own clothes and utensils and hands them back after keeping it in sunlight for 48 hours.

“There were moments, when we came to work in packed wards. Much before also, I used to have doubts that I might have contracted the virus. But we have a huge responsibility, especially towards serious patients. Sometimes we are frightened too. There were patients who had to be given CPR. But we knew that to fight this battle, keeping fear at bay was a prerequisite.”

Dr Harveen Kaur is the sixth staff member and the only doctor at the Civil Hospital to have tested positive for Covid. Before her, three nurses (two at Civil Hospital’s trauma unit and one working at Meritorious school) as well as two ward servants have tested positive. She is under isolation at home for 17 days, as per new guidelines.

Frontline warriors day and night on job

  • Nearly 50 to 60 doctors as well as 150 to 200 paramedical staff toil day and night attending to Covid patients at the Jalandhar Civil Hospital.
  • Not only this, many more are deputed at the Meritorious School and other quarantine and Covid centres.
  • So far, six people, among government medical staff, have tested positive for Covid in the district.

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