Indian Medical doctors Battling the Second Covid-19 Wave Face Burnout

India’s Covid-19 cases hit another grim record on Sunday, and local administration and doctors who are involved in fighting the outbreak at the moment are overworked. Healthcare workers on the frontline are experiencing burnout of another kind when it comes to battling the virus – one entire year after it first recorded in the country. Even as India is in the third phase of its vaccination drive, it is also trying to meet vaccine shortages as reported by many states. Doctors, healthcare workers and frontline workers reported burnout and stress in 2020 due to the pandemic, and they did not have any respite before this second wave hit the country. India is experiencing what many are calling the second wave of COVID-19 infections, with several states reporting a surge in the number of coronavirus cases daily.

“Please, please wear masks. I don’t know about other people but I’m physically and mentally exhausted with crazy shifts and calling more deaths than I did in all my years of service combined. If you still don’t care, please go inside COVID units as my proxy. Thanks,” reads a tweet by Dipshikha Ghosh, a doctor in critical care medicine.

Dipshikha’s tweet went viral – and what followed were harrowing accounts from doctors all across the country reporting their stress and burnout, which mirrored what the situation felt like, a year ago.

I didn’t test positive. I’ve distanced from family for almost 10 months. I’ve not done anything “fun” outside. I haven’t gone on leisure trips for my mental health. I’ve survived. I haven’t contributed to the pandemic. And it’s been a total waste. Thanks, you know who you are.— Doctor (@DipshikhaGhosh) April 12, 2021

It’s just heartbreaking.. Breaking news of death to family members over phone and hearing them scream and howl in shock and grief is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to sit through. I don’t think any HCW will ever be the same again.— Doctor (@DipshikhaGhosh) April 12, 2021

Several doctors also shared what their year had been like, and what coping with the wave had been like.

Plea to all Indian doctors / nurses association’s / public & private hospital admins to collectively protest against large gatherings across the country . Our healthcare system will collapse with tsunami of cases @IMAIndiaOrg young doctors on Covid duties are already fatigued— Dr Parul M Sharma (@DrParulSharma1) April 13, 2021

I’ve encountered covid pts atleast a dozen times in last 1 month in cath lab (primary angioplasty) or during emergency intubationOnly thing which protected me was, a simple snugly fitting N95 MASK.#MaskUpIndia It works better than vaccine with 100% efficacy.

— Dr Jitumoni Baishya (@Jitumoni28) April 16, 2021

Most laughable that the govt is penalising clinical establishments in the name of covid protocol violations, while political rallies and religious gatherings are quietly allowed to go on— Dr. Shibu Varkey, (@ShibuVarkey_dr) April 13, 2021

1)Any 3 ply or N95 mask which snugly fits without a valve.2) donot touch your masks / face / rub your eyes 3) discard before entering your house . 4)take bath before you touch your family members after coming from outside5)social distancing 6)those eligible get vaccinated— Dr Thalamus (@Neurochauhan) April 16, 2021

No bed available for #COVID patients , families are taking token to get cremation of their near once. Remdesivir out of stock . People are dying.When country needs more Dr ,Govt postponed computer based #NEETPG Exam.Election rallies and #kumbh mela to be continued..— Dr Syed Faizan Ahmad (@drsfaizanahmad) April 15, 2021

Are doctors only allowed to work breaking their backs, sweating in PPEs to the point of dehydration, while there are COVIDiots walking around and partying like there’s no pandemic going on???? Let the kids dance man.— Meenu (@_meen_curry) April 13, 2021

The fallout of this pandemic has truly been so bad! I’m a resident, I haven’t touched my books in a year, our department is “understaffed” which means they are holding funds in case of a crisis. I have been on call 4 nights a week in addition to covid duty.— Pallavi (@DanceObsessed93) April 13, 2021

“We are doing everything we can, but we don’t have the same mental strength we had last year,” a doctor told BBC on dealing with the second wave.

The national registry of Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows that 747 doctors have died of Covid-19. The secretary general of IMA, told The Indian Express that according to their registry, the highest number of such deaths were from Tamil Nadu (89) and West Bengal (80).

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