An Army of white! Soldiers in scrubs!
By Siya Bindal
Each emergency has its heroes who showcase their magnanimity and penance as and when a disaster approaches. Like a fireman comes to the rescue when a building is set on fire, cops are just a call away to help you when a crime is committed and then there are soldiers who are at your service 24×7 at the borders to ensure both yours and your nation’s safety. And now, as the world reels under the coronavirus pandemic, we see an army of white i.e. our doctors and nurses in the battlefield with their scrubs on- like an armour- for our protection. These heroes are making astonishing sacrifices to think about all of us.
Today, it can be witnessed evidently why doctors are called the second god of humanity. While the world is completely shut since months due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus, doctors have been on duty- for more than their usual working hours- away from their own families, to save our lives. Their responsibility towards their work comes with a heavy psychological impediment that many hours in hospitals could put their families in distress. They worry about carrying the virus into their homes where their children, partners and parents could be exposed. After treating the victims all day long at the hospital, they fear to return home to their families which is why we hear news of them spending nights in their cars or in hotel rooms arranged by the government. Even if they go back home, they cannot be near any of their family members which means they are bound to have a social distance from them until the situation gets better and they’re out of danger of contamination. Every now and then we see viral videos of doctors breaking down into tears for not being able to hug or even be with their families in this difficult time which is mentally challenging for each one of us.
Surely there is some danger inherent in the ordinary practice of medicine, but not this much. I’m certain no individual thinks of working in adversity as bad as the one we’re witnessing today, while graduating with their medical degree. Despite that, we can see no doctor stepping down from their duty, rather standing tall and strong as an army to combat the threat this world is under.
Alongside their war with the virus, doctors are fighting another war with state officials due to lack of proper equipment given the enormous inundation of patients. “In Italy, one of the worst affected countries, dozens of doctors and nurses have died from COVID-19 and thousands of healthcare workers have become infected. In the Pacific port city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, a sick nurse made no attempt to hide her anger: 80 of her colleagues had been infected and five had died. Ecuador is one of the worst affected countries in South America, with hundreds of dead bodies lying inside homes because the morgues are full. “We went to war without any weapons” said the 55-year-old nurse. In the United States, Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, the president of the New York State Nurses Association, also highlighted the lack of protective equipment for medical staff. “We don’t have the arms and the armour to protect ourselves against the enemy” she said at a recent protest outside a hospital. Benny Mathew, a 43-year-old nurse in New York, said that he caught the virus after caring for at least four patients without adequate medical equipment. Roger Etoa, a doctor in Cameroon, one of the worst-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa confessed that the fear of getting the the disease also affected healthcare employees. “I live with my wife and children,” she said. “When I arrive in the evening I rush to the shower, but it is difficult to stop the children from jumping on you.”
These are the heroes who did not choose to go for war yet they’re out there fighting for humanity and for the well being of mankind. They don’t differentiate their patients based on caste, sex, or religion; they treat everyone equally despite being attacked by certain people who misunderstand doctors’ act of protecting them as attacking them. To encourage these fighters to sustain in the battlefield this world has become and to provide them with affection that they’re missing due to being away from their families, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to the citizens of the nation to assemble together at a time (not literally, just in their own balconies) and applaud for the army of white. All the citizens of India reciprocated to PM’s appeal with a great amount of zest and an echo of applaud as a symbol of gratitude could be heard in the entire world. Furthermore, on PM’s second appeal, the country once again gathered and lit diyas/candles/flashlights at their balconies as a symbol of unity and power. This is the least that could be done from our end for the medical workers who’re working in such detrimental conditions. Lastly, as part of an aerial salute to medical professionals and other frontline workers, a flypast by jets and helicopters from Indian Air Force and Indian Navy was carried out on May 3, 2020. They also showered flower petals over hospitals treating COVID-19 patients across different places in the country.
“Armed Forces’ Helicopters Drop Flower Petals on Hospitals Treating COVID-19 Patients.” n.d. Inshorts – Stay Informed. Accessed May 3, 2020. https://inshorts.com/en/news/armed-forces-helicopters-drop-flowers-on-hospitals-treating-covid19-patients-1588483883707.
content, Ruth Marcus closeRuth MarcusOverseeing Washington Post signed opinion,Writing on Domestic Politics, and policyEmailEmailBioBioFollowFollowDeputy editorial page editor. n.d. “Opinion | These Are the Heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Washington Post. Accessed May 3, 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/27/nurses-doctors-are-heroes-this-moment/.
Frangou, Christina. 2020. “Coronavirus Heroes: The Doctors Carrying an Immense Burden to Care for Us.” The Guardian, March 25, 2020, sec. World news. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/doctors-coronavirus-pandemic-stories.
RomeApril 15, Agence France-Presse, 2020UPDATED: April 15, and 2020 13:50 Ist. n.d. “Fear, Struggle and Heartbreak for Medical Staff on Coronavirus Frontline.” India Today. Accessed May 3, 2020. https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/fear-struggle-and-heartbreak-for-medical-staff-on-coronavirus-frontline-1667187-2020-04-15.