Dr. G. is a consultant anesthesiologist in Assam, India. They spoke with Lifebox on 28 March 2020 on Assam’s and India’s preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am a consultant anesthesiologist in Sivasagar, Assam, India. I have been associated with Lifebox since 2015.
“I am working in a community health center. There have been no cases reported in Assam as of now. We are testing patients with fever and severe symptoms, and patients with fever and certain travel history. Otherwise, we are advising home isolation. Guidelines have been shared by the Government of India.
“We are more or less prepared. Health care workers and others in the health center have been undergoing training, from cleaners to doctors. Large buildings have been converted to isolation centers. We are planning for shift-wise duties if there is an outbreak. The teams of health care workers who would be treating COVID patients will not be allowed to go home. At the end of their shift duties, they would be kept in isolation. All medical colleges in Assam have been converted to dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.
“Anesthesiologists in India are working in ICUs as consultants, as pain physicians, as team leaders in trauma and emergency, and as team leaders in snake bite management. We are leading from the front in this fight against COVID-19. Our members are actively involved in creating new ICUs to tackle any outbreak.
“Nowadays, we are treating every person as a potential carrier of the virus. We are at risk, from pre-anaesthetic checkup, pain clinics, tracheal intubation, to ICU services. We always wear surgical masks and gloves. No wrist watch. Little jewelries, no purse, one stethoscope, and one pen. We do not bring anything from the hospital to home.
“We are in need of lots of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment and N95 masks). Though the government has ordered some, it will likely take time. If you could donate, we would be grateful to Lifebox.
“I don’t fear at all treating COVID-19 patients. We are made to tackle such a situation. We can defeat this virus by just following simple hand wash and strict infection control measures and strict planning.
“I am feared only for the scarcity of PPE. Our greatest hope is the public cooperating with us. The public and media are shouting for our PPE.
“We will definitely WIN. To win a battle there should be cooperation and support from 3Ps (Public, Press and Politician). Right now, all 3 Ps are working hand in hand in Assam and India.
“3 Ps are STRONGER than one C (Corona).
“WE are proud & happy to be led by prime minister of India and the health minister of Assam.”