Pandemic Struggles Vol 4: Doctors (Part I)
The Pandemic Struggles series will not be complete without the doctors’ perspectives. Being the key front-liner in triage, screening, diagnosis and prescribing, this battle to COVID-19 would have been lost without them. In our special two-part episode, we share a snippet of the challenges faced by a doctor who has been serving for 9 years in a government hospital.
What changes occurred in your workplace during the pandemic and how did it affect you?
There were many new SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) regarding workflow, patient flow, management of patients, donning of proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Initially, it was very confusing when the SOPs kept changing to find the best workflow. However, we managed to adapt to the new changes, strengthening teamwork and bonds between us colleagues. Nevertheless, wearing PPE for the whole shift and working in a fast paced environment meant that we were tired, sweaty and unable to refresh ourselves as we used to.
What are some of your prime concerns as a healthcare professional for this crisis?
My main worry is that the pandemic will blow out of proportion and that we healthcare staffs become unable to curb the disease. We are also very worried about the exhaustion of our medication and PPEs, as well as the mental and physical exhaustion on our own part. I am especially concerned that the public takes this matter too lightly and their selfishness causes them to not do their part in curbing the pandemic.
How has this pandemic affected your personal life? What are your worries living in this pandemic?
I am worried that I may carry the virus back home to my family, especially my children.
What kind of progress would you like to see from the government and health sector to help you cope with your struggles?
Our government’s efforts so far are commendable. Improvements can be made to the implementation of SOPs in the New Normal with regular monitoring and auditing as opposed to an arbitrary approach. Such methods ensure fairness when implementing summons for any wrongdoers. I would also suggest that the medical fees at government healthcare centers be increased so that the public do not misuse the service.
Stay tuned for Part II next week as we bring another scoop from a doctor down south!