Physicians are unlikely to be adept in dancing like professional dancers nor are they supposed to practise a dancing session in hospitals while on duty. But in a most abnormal time, the most unthinkable happens ---and not necessarily to make the situation hilarious or gloomier; rather to produce a positive vibe.
Three internee doctors of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) had the novel idea of performing dance in the corridor of the hospital at a time their fellow frontline warriors were overwhelmed by the rush of Covid-19 patients to the city's medical facilities. Well, the morose and the conservative may find the dance inappropriate or even disgusting but questioning their intention would rather be most undesirable.
Not many of us who from the safe and secure distance and comfort of home can realise the trauma the frontline warriors of the health sector go through. A CNN reporter was interviewing a lady doctor in New Delhi on Friday about her feeling when she and her colleagues had to handle so many patients and see from close quarters the deaths of an unprecedented number of them. The doctor replied they were trying their best to give the care but at times she also has her mental (nervous) breakdown.
The condition of hospitals in Bangladesh has not fallen as worse as those in the Indian capital but most of the government facilities with ICUs equipped with ventilators were overwhelmed for about a couple of weeks and still patients suffer from unavailability of oxygen in time. It is not unusual when physicians suffer a psychological breakdown following the death of patients despite the best of their efforts to save their lives. The picture of a young physician sitting on the step of a hospital out of frustration when the patient brought to the hospital premise by the latter's son carrying on his shoulder had died before the doctor could attend him last year will ever remain etched in many minds.
True, here is a profession that trains its practitioners to confront death in the face. Yet there is a limit to seeing life perishing one after another on a mass scale. Even medical training and habitualness fall short of keeping a doctor in one piece. After all, the realisation that anyone can fall victim to this sub-microscopic pathogen is enough to trigger a chill down the spine.
When the situation is so depressing and pessimistic, there is at least a need for some momentary distraction from it. The internee trio has gone for something cheering that would deliver their senior colleagues directly involved with Covid-19 treatment to momentary forgetfulness. It was nice of them to think that even in the most trying time, there is a need for rejuvenating or reenergising. After all, physicians must not lose heart when the medical environment is so ominously frightening. When death is on a sinister dance, life must defy it to go on a lively waltz.
It is an attempt to let their diminishing spirit free from the shackle, exhaustion and monotony. In just two weeks from April 2 to April 16, 11 doctors died of Covid-related complications. From March to December last year, 125 physicians died from this disease. The number speaks for the risk involved to them. Physicians had to remain in quarantine in hotels away from their families for a week or two and then went to hospitals and this process of alternative routine had to be followed for months. Has it changed this time?
Then look at the mismanagement in payment of the compensation money as declared by the prime minister. The family of a doctor of Sylhet Osmany Medical College, who was the first fatality among doctors in this country, has been the only recipient of Tk 5,000,000 so far. In a situation like this, the physicians have to cheer themselves up in order to get going. Cheer up doctors!