PIMS Covid Ward Registrar Dr Fazal Serving Patients Non-Stop Since Virus Outbreak
Eid is an important traditional festival. People from all over the Muslim world travel back to their homes to celebrate this auspicious moment with their loved ones.
However, this year Eid remained a low-profile day for many, and Dr Fazal’s family is among them.
“On first day of Eid, I remained stuck in dealing with Covid-19 patients and could not even make a greeting call to my family, owing to the worst situation in the Covid-19 ward,” says Dr Fazal Rabbi, registrar Covid-19 ward, at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad.
Dr Fazal has been serving at the Covid-19 ward since the beginning of the pandemic outbreak in Pakistan and has not visited his home since.
Being an expert of viral diseases, he regarded his presence in the hospital to be of much more importance than visiting home.
“When I told her that I wasn’t coming home for Eid, my daughter started crying. She is more attached to me than my other children,” recounts Dr Fazal with a sad smile. “My father is a courageous man but my mother has been particularly sensitive due to the risks to my health in the current situation and my prolonged absence from home”.
“She is becoming paranoid. Last time we talked via video call, I didn’t even notice that one of my hands was hidden from view but she demanded me to show her my hand to make sure there wasn’t an intravenous tube inserted in it,” he recalls fondly.
Talking about the increased demands of duty on him, Dr Fazal shared, “We were already short of trained staff. PIMS only has between 8 and 10 trained doctors, while I have many additional responsibilities as well.”
Dr Fazal hasn’t visited home since January this year when the hospital started taking measures for dealing with expected Covid-10 patients.
“Being an epidemiologist, I have been very concerned about the situation, and ever since the virus started spreading out from China, I started making requests to the health ministry for immediate measures. It was January 29, when I made my first request to the health minister seeking immediate safety measures for frontline doctors and paramedics/ non-paramedics. But, unfortunately, adequate measures were not taken. As a result, more than 100 doctors and other health workers have been tested positive for coronavirus.”
Talking about the challenges, Dr Fazal said that the growing number of critical Covid-19 cases and the limited number of ventilators has exposed the health staff at the hospital to public violence. “When people won’t get a space for treatment for their loved ones, what will they do? Of course, they will incite violence against the hospital staff.”
He said that there is a dire need for enhanced security in the hospital to avoid any untoward incident taking place.