BEARING THE BRUNT
THE WEEK|August 01, 2021
Emergency care has been strained during the pandemic and is banking on evolving protocols
MINI P. THOMAS

The pandemic has struck fear into our hearts. Dolly A.S., a nursing educator at Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bengaluru, is part of the emergency medicine team and feels her fears are reasonable. However, she does not shy away from doing what is expected of her. “In cases where the patient needs urgent medical attention, we do not wait for the Covid negative report to start treatment. Saving lives is the biggest priority for us,” says Dolly, 31. “Recently, one of our doctors had a cardiac arrest and was brought to the ER. He tested positive later. By then, a lot of our staff had been exposed to him. That way, it is a lot riskier than working in the ICU.”

A Covid frontline warrior, Dolly ensures her colleagues are well protected and encourages them to care for Covid patients. “We identified the protocols for handling Covid patients. Now, with unwavering dedication, everyone in the emergency department (ED) is ready to take care of them.”

Dolly may find a kindred spirit in Dr. Sandeep Gore, director of emergency medicine at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai. Gore has been on his toes ever since the pandemic began.

A few hours before we spoke to Gore, a patient with severe lung damage caused by Covid-19 was brought to the ED. Then came another one with septic shock, a severe infection that causes a drop in blood pressure and multiple-organ failure. The third patient he attended to was an accident victim with multiple injuries, followed by someone suffering a massive heart attack. “All of them survived. It was a perfect day,” says Gore, for whom a hectic schedule like this is common.

For Gore, nothing is more gratifying than giving a patient a new lease on life. “One of our patients had an acute stroke and he was paralyzed,” says Gore. A stroke happens when the blood flow to the brain is obstructed. “We dissolved the obstruction using thrombolytics (clot-busting drugs) and ensured the blood flow was restored. Right diagnosis at the right time followed by the right intervention is crucial in saving lives and limbs. However, not everyone may get it during the pandemic,” says Gore, who is also the national vice-president of the Society for Emergency Medicine in India.

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