Ajit JohnThey are known as the last line of defense. And in times of COVID, the first line too. The pandemic sweeping the world has brought the efforts of the medical community to the fore. The efforts of young doctors who stay in the hospital for days as they battle for the lives of patients have been reported in various media around the world, in the country, and in the Goa too. This pandemic, however, has also exposed the fear in man. Cases have been reported of doctors being assaulted in the places where they reside out of fear, they could be carriers of the virus. Viewpoints mature and take acquire a balanced view as one goes through life. The viewpoint of an intern will differ from that of an experienced doctor to that of a young boy or girl contemplating a career in medicine. Shanaia Dsilva a student of Loyola College Margao said she was seriously considering a career in medicine. She said “I saw a lot of people getting better and these doctors were curing people. I attended a talk on science and post that, I made up my mind to get into medicine. Perhaps I will be a family doctor”. She said she wanted to do something to help people and this was an ideal way to do it. Samara Pereira another student of science in the 11th standard said she was considering a career in forensic science which dealt with evidence. She said, “I am not considering medicine but yes, it is a true calling and anyone who answers it is certainly helping and curing mankind”. True that. The reaction of interns was very interesting. Dr Navita Naik an intern at GMC felt she was very fortunate to be present at this point in time. She said “We have been called COVID warriors and none of us expected to be dealing with these situations. It is great to serve people. I have seen doctors leave everything and fight for the lives of patients. I have seen the true doctor do everything to save lives”. Asked if the profession faced more challenges since patients claim t be better informed about diseases and treatments she said: “ People have now access to google which provides them with details of all the possible diseases in the world and some of them tend to confront the doctor and are very rude but on the whole, there is a great deal of respect for the profession”. Asked if young people were considering medicine as a profession, she said it was a calling and it all depended on one’s degree of dedication. If one wanted to become a doctor it would be important to be considerate to the patient's needs and to be prepared to work long hours. Similar sentiments were expressed by Dakshay Kankonkar another intern at the GMC. He said the charm of the profession had not reduced and in fact with all the attention being paid to doctors meant he was answering a lot of questions from young people considering a career in medicine. He said “They want to know the process involved in treating the virus, everything that is there. They want to know how to prepare for the exams and the process of working in the system. The virus has not affected the appeal of the profession”. Faizan Shah an intern at the same hospital said the response of a few people to doctors treating the virus was unacceptable and even the Prime Minister had talked about this. He said those who wanted to become doctors would do so because of their urge to help people and anyone who stayed away because the virus or the possibility of any other pandemic in the future causing similar damage was a coward. The views of an experienced doctor are always coloured by his or her experiences. Dr Shekhar Salkar Consulting Oncologist Manipal Hospital was interesting, to say the least. He said “I feel now only those who are committed to medicine will enter the field. This virus will filter out people. The feeling of being part of a team saving a life is indescribable. It is the ultimate feeling. But there have been many people who joined the profession to make money and nothing else. Today there are several doctors in Goa who refuse to come because of fear of catching the virus. On the other hand, you have residents’ doctors here who have stayed in the hospital for fifteen days treating patients”. Dr Edelweiss Desa who has been in the business for several years and has perhaps seen it all reiterated the fact that medicine was a true calling and one either had it or did not. She bemoaned the fact that dedication in the new generation was missing and the people had generally lost respect for the profession. The medical staff who were on the frontline were not being treated properly and it was a worrying sign. She hoped it would all improve. Like everything in this country and Goa, viewpoints spanned the entire gamut but what was very apparent was the importance of dedication in this industry and the fact that it was a calling. One can only hope the youth of tomorrow will remember that.