Dhaval Parekh, the Final Year Resident Doctor Fighting on the Frontline!

Meet Dhaval Parekh, the young doctor who was called for contact tracing of patients as part of the government initiative. The final year resident doctor studying at BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad immediately joined the force to volunteer for the cause. Though his line of work did not entail patient contact, one day he developed fever, followed with a change of taste, weakness, and diarrhea. The young doctor on the frontline was diagnosed positive to Corona Virus.

During his treatment, Dhaval admits that he was lucky to have the best of care from the government and the doctors as he and his colleagues were put up in a hotel dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The atmosphere was one of support and understanding which helped him overcome the illness fast enough. He attributes this to the awareness of the medical community that he himself belongs to. The awareness he feels helps takes out the fear and myths that surround the disease, especially the stigma that is attached to the people who are suffering from it.

Currently, post his recovery, Dhaval is working in the death registry department in the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.

Dhaval has been a witness to many medical experiments and studies for the treatment of Coronavirus. Among many experiments to his knowledge, one such experiment that stuck him was the encouraging results of the plasma treatment.

As a student, he recalls the subject of plasma donation in his post-graduation studies and has read about the same in his studies and articles. 

Dhaval was contacted by the local authorities for plasma donation. He immediately agreed. Speaking about the process, Dhaval says,  “the process starts from taking the consent of the donor, followed with a medical checkup, hemoglobin count test and suitability of the plasma for antibodies for patients.” He admits that, just like any other common man,  he too had some doubts and concerns about the side effects of the plasma donation which was allayed by the doctors who explained the whole process to him. Plasma donation is no different than a normal blood donation, Dhaval recounts.  

“There are not enough donors who are coming forward for the plasma donation and non-medical survivors of the illness do not turn up, this needs to change,” adding that, Dhaval says,  he is committed to inspiring more people to come forward. 

Dhaval states that the will to never give up plays a very important role and he expresses his gratitude towards the support from his family and friends. Dhaval urges all to take precautions as the cases are rising and we are moving towards unlocking the country.  India he feels is yet to reach the peak and it is prudent that the community understands the importance of government directives and initiatives to stem the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, on the frontline, this young doctor and the Corona champion continue to take up every responsibility coming his way that strengthens the fight against this pandemic. 

Meet Akhil, the first plasma donor from Telangana!

A UK-trained lawyer, Akhil Ennamsetty, returned to Hyderabad in March this year. This 24-year-old who is pursuing LLM in Human Rights Law from the University of Edinburgh ensured to take all necessary precautions upon his arrival in India and hadn’t even met his family until he had promptly undergone COVID-19 testing. To his shock, he was tested positive turning out to be the ‘P16’ of Telangana State and the first patient from his home-district Warangal.

During his isolation period at the  Hospital, he saw the news channels showing a random dead body and describing it as a patient in the same ward as his, who was still fighting the virus. “It was disheartening and appalling; they could have conveyed the story after the verification & without the use of catchy words to increase their TRP,” Akhil described his experience of watching news coverage on COVID-19 patients. 

Post his recovery he was looking for an opportunity to help others.

It was when Gandhi Hospital began with convalescent plasma trials,  he seems to have got the opportunity he was looking for. Akhil became the first plasma donor from Telangana saving three critically ill patients by transfusing the plasma donated by him. Moreover, Akhil encouraged his survivor friends to also contribute in whatever way they can. 

 Soon, Akhil, along with his colleague in the UK,  started a website to provide counseling service to the victims of the virus & provide logistical and necessary living support to the stranded Indian students and workers abroad and helped the repatriation process. With two other friends of his from the United States, he is now successfully running a web portal that provides donor information to the patients’ families regarding the convalescent plasma therapy, the only hopeful treatment available for the critical patients as of today. 

 Akhil also observed something in the process. He observed a stigma that came along with the virus.  “My quarantine friend says his neighbors still don’t talk to his family.”

During these trying times, Akhil found everyone in his social circles to be supportive. Nobody tried to look at him feebly, “My boldness has overpowered their stigma,” he said. But he didn’t want to stop there.  Akhil, the Corona Champion continues to educate people more about fighting the battle mentally than physically. Because we are not alone. We are millions against one virus.

 

  • Written by Rakhi Vishwakarma

Aziz Pirani and Family- The Restopreneur Shares His Journey of Tackling Corona Virus

In the first week of May, my Dad developed a fever. It didn’t subside for a few days, so I got him tested for COVID on 5th May. By the time the results came on 7th May, Dad’s fever had subsided, and he was feeling well. But the test-result was positive. To be honest, I didn’t know what to do. I called people frantically to check for a hospital to admit him and for an ambulance to take him there.

One private hospital had one COVID bed free but in a triple occupancy room. My Dad is seventy-two years old. So I didn’t want to take any chances. Another hospital told me that they could give a single occupancy room after three days. Till then, we had to admit him to ICU. Dad wasn’t showing any symptoms. So 

I didn’t take that option either. Finally, thanks to BMC, I got a room for him in a PWD hospital’s quarantine center.

Getting the ambulance was also a struggle because of the severe shortage of ambulances equipped to ferry COVID patients. I got one after trying for two days.

I was busy in making arrangements for Dad’s admission. So I didn’t have time to be emotional. Dad also seemed okay after the results. But the day before he was to leave for the hospital, he started crying. All the scary news about COVID-19 caught up to him. He started signing Fixed Deposit forms and telling me the whereabouts of critical documents of our family. He was doing all that a man would do when he wasn’t sure if he would come back from the hospital.

I am a person who believes in positive thoughts and emotions. I deliberately keep my thoughts optimistic. But that day I broke down. Seeing my old man cry was one of the scariest experiences in my life. I tried my best not to panic myself and kept motivating him to be optimistic. But inside, I was panicking.

We shifted Dad to the PWD quarantine center. Soon I came to know of a vacancy in Nanavati hospital. So I moved him there so that he could get the necessary care just in case his condition worsened. Thankfully, it never did. He started recovering, and I thought the worst was over. But our ordeal had only begun.

Soon after admitting Dad, I developed a high fever and severe chills. I didn’t want to take any chances this time. So I got everyone in my family tested, including my Mom, wife, ten-year-old daughter, uncle, and aunt. In two days, the results came. Everyone was negative, except Mom and me.

My Mom and I shifted to my parent’s house, while the rest of the family stayed back in mine. My fever was getting worse. I had already started taking antibiotics before the results came. The doctor added Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to my dose after I tested positive. My body’s reaction to HCQ made my condition worse. Within a day of taking HCQ, I started developing constant cough and breathlessness along with severe acidity. I was getting so many frantic calls from friends and relatives that I was unable to take rest. In between all this, I had to manage daily calls with the doctor, Dad, and the hospital where he was admitted. We didn’t tell Dad about Mom and me testing positive because we didn’t want to add to his stress.

More than Dad and myself, I was worried about Mom. I thought that the stress of thinking about her family and her health would break her down. But she surprised all of us. I am not sure where she suddenly summoned so much strength from? Probably it was her instinct to protect her son and help him recover. She never showed any symptoms, and she was continually taking care of me, providing me food, hot water, and medicines. I was so afraid of making her condition worse that although we were in separate rooms, I used to sanitize anything I touched in our house.

Thanks to my Mom, I started recovering just on regular antibiotics for fever, cough, and acidity. By that time, Dad got discharged from the hospital. That’s when we had to tell him about his wife and son because we wanted him to go to the other house and not his.

“But for me, the most important part of my recovery is in helping people who have newly contracted the virus.”

After fourteen days of quarantine, I had recovered, and Mom was also fine. But since the norms had changed, we were not tested for COVID-19 again. Just to be sure, we stayed at home for two more weeks and got out only after

Now my parents and I are in post-COVID recovery mode, an essential aspect of fighting the disease comprehensively. We are watching our diet and also doing some basic workout that includes walking every day.

But for me, the most important part of my recovery is in helping people who have newly contracted the virus. Once I recover completely, I plan to volunteer for the ambulance services run by our community. Currently, I counsel COVID patients. I get 10 to 15 calls from patients daily. Along with all necessary information on where and how to get help, I keep repeating one thing to them- The most significant learning I had throughout this experience is that fear is a far severe menace than COVID-19.”

“Along with all necessary information on where and how to get help, I keep repeating one thing to them- The most significant learning I had throughout this experience is that fear is a far severe menace than COVID-19.” 

Although I panicked when my family contracted the virus, luckily, that didn’t stop me from immediately seeking tests and treatment. When one tries to hide or ignore the fact that one might have contracted COVID-19, the treatment delays, causing severe complications.

So that’s what I want to share with everyone; whether you like it or not, most of you may contract this disease at some point. When you do, please don’t panic. Instead, seek help immediately.

“So don’t panic. Just seek help.” 

Yes, some people might get scared, and they might shun you. But remember that this is not the time to think about anyone else but about you and your family. If you or anyone in your family develops a fever or other symptoms that last for more than three days, please get tested. And if the tests turn out positive, remember that your body has enough immunity to overcome the virus with the right medication. Stress will not only affect your immunity adversely but also will stop you from seeking help.

“Like anything else in life, the most crucial weapon that we have to fight this pandemic is our attitude towards it. Everything else will fall into place. My family’s tryst with COVID-19 is living proof of that.”

So don’t panic. Just seek help. And I can assure you that you will find it, even in entirely unexpected quarters. Like anything else in life, the most crucial weapon that we have to fight this pandemic is our attitude towards it. Everything else will fall into place. My family’s tryst with COVID-19 is living proof of that. The fact that Aziz, even after his family’s scary tryst with COVID-19, is determined to help others who are currently suffering from mental stress due to the infection, makes him a Corona Champion.

 

          Written by K N Karthikeyan