04 May 2021  |   06:16am IST


Doctors, nurses and medical staff are at relentless service to save COVID patients, now, for over a year at the South Goa hospitals, braving the deadly virus. MARCOS GONSALVES gives a rare insight into their personal crisis, their sacrifices, and their families’ sacrifices they are enduring, diligently abiding by their duties

 At the end of the day I am so tired that I cannot give a single minute to my family members. There are high chances that we too can get infected, and hence my family is concerned. We are not getting time to think about the safety of our children”- 

Words of a doctor in a South Goa hospital, words that find an echo through the fraternity of medical COVOD warriors


South Goa District Hospital

On Monday Herald met several doctors, nurses, and other medical staff of South Goa District Hospital (SGDH) and ESI Hospital at Margao, and several stories of their hardships were heard. Herald also patiently tried to listen to the untold sacrifices of this section of medical staff.

Lisma Berneto, a nurse at SGDH told Herald that her daughter recently pleaded for time. “Mama do you know I am your daughter and you need to talk to me at least once a day", the child said

"When I come for my shift I don't even get time to bring water to drink. To work with this mask and PPE kit is difficult and at end of the day, we are so tired that we cannot give a single minute to our family members. 

 Requesting not to disclose the name, a doctor coordinating at the post-COVID centre said her family is worried about her, fearing she may also get infected serving the patients. 

"Our burden is increasing day by day. Now younger adults and even children are getting infected. Now it has become difficult to tackle the situation. As the burden on the healthcare system increases the pressure on doctors and nurses too increases. There are high chances that we too can get infected with the COVID virus and hence family is showing concern about it. This COVID crisis is a big challenge to the doctors and nurses not only in Goa but the whole world", she further stated.

Speaking to Herald Nodal Officer at SGDH Dr. Rajesh Patel said this COVID crisis has happened for the first time in our life also. “In September 2020, we commissioned this hospital with hundred beds. And from that day onwards, all my doctors, medical officers, AYUSH doctors, all the nurses have done an immense job. They have sacrificed their personal life and family life”, said the 24x 7 doct0or 

"We don't even know if our salary has credited in our account or not (in the sense that they haven’t had to time to even check their phones for bank notifications). I am saying this because we are not getting time to think about our personal life. We are even not getting time to think about the safety of our children", he said.  

Working as a senior nurse at SGDH Madhuri Nachnodkar informed Herald that one of her family members has tested positive. "One of my family members are in very bad condition. Her health condition is not good. She is at home. Actually, I work here but my mind is also at home, thinking of my sister. Still, I have taken this COVID situation in a positive way. I feel that we are like soldiers fighting on the borders, as we too are fighting against the COVID for our people in Goa". 

Nurse Rose Maria Monteiro from St Inez, Panjim said that she is doing her best to serve the patients, living behind all the personal problems at home. "We all have our family to go back to. It is very fortunate that our family members are so supportive at this point. Even after knowing we can also get infected our family is supporting us. So salute not only goes to people who are working here but all the family members supporting doctors, nurses, and others working in the hospital", said a young doctor Dr Pratik Sawant, presently working hard at the district hospital. 


ESI Hospital

At ESI hospital, which is one of the first COVID hospitals Herald met another young staff named Ulhas Karapurkar from Aquem, Margao, who has, for  many days, not seen the face of his wife and child.

"I am giving my uninterrupted service living behind all my problems. I’m working on Saturdays and Sundays too. I am working as a BLO but giving my service at ESI hospital. I have realized that this is a time we must come together. I have sent my wife and child to my mother-in-law's place. I do converse with my wife on video calling, that's all", he informed. 

The Medical Superintendent of ESI Hospital Dr. Vishwjeet Phaldessai also stated the personal hardships faced by the medical staff of the hospital. He also said that all staff of the hospital are fully dedicated to COVID positive patients and they are hardly thinking about their families. “This ESI hospital was the only COVID hospital in Goa and we had almost nearly 93 per cent recovery. We fought till the end” 

When the second wave started, teams came from GMC and they were able to manage the situation. In January-February 2020 the ESI hospital treated 70 UK travellers. 

"Today we have 234 beds in ESI hospital dedicated to Covid patients. We have the experience of last year and hence we are managing this dedicatedly. We have our staff of 100 besides nearly 30 contract nurses and outsourced workers. The virus is everywhere now, so there is a fear amongst the medical staff but despite all, they are working hard living behind all the hardships and personal issues", Dr. Phaldessai said.


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