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When COVID 19 hit home

  When COVID 19 hit home Vijay Gopichandran When the family members of a doctor providing care for patients with COVID 19 come down with COVID 19, some very fundamental changes start happening in the doctor’s life. I am writing a narrative of what happened to me, when my elderly parents both in their early seventies, came down with COVID 19 pneumonia one after another in a matter of a week. My hospital became a designated COVID 19 treatment centre in the latter half of May 2020. I have been on the ground providing triage services for all patients attending the hospital from late March 2020 and got more actively involved in caring for patients with COVID 19 from May. I made a few drastic changes in my lifestyle since that time because I was going to work from home, where I live with my elderly parents. I quarantined myself in my room, where my parents were not allowed. I started washing my clothes, dishes separately and stopped putting them in the common washing machine. My intera
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I am searching...

 I am searching… Vijay Gopichandran As I sit to write this, my hands are trembling. These fingers have danced over this keyboard for the past 5 months only to key in names, addresses, phone numbers and details of patients with COVID 19, to submit reports to the state government. These fingers which have the habit of completing words which begin with ‘me…’ as medicine, now complete any word starting with ‘p’ as positive by force of habit. So much of my routine life changed due to the pandemic and all things associated with it. Nowadays I leave home by 7 AM. So, my most precious morning writing routine has taken a beating. I return home on some days by 7 PM, some days even later, so my evening writing is also gone. Though I would not call myself overworked, I do not get any time to think, reflect and write, as most of my time is occupied in COVID 19 related work. So, I am glad, that I am writing this blog after a huge hiatus. I don’t know how this blog is going to pan out. I have not

Pride Month Guest Post - Being Visibly Queer in a medical college.

Being visibly queer in a medical college. - Aadhithya Hridhaya #TriggerWarning - Emotional abuse, bullying, queerphobia Contrary to the popular opinion that medical colleges are progressive and more inclusive, they are the most regressive ones. Most of the spaces that we queers get access to discriminate us without exceptions. The very first day of my college life made me feel very much uncomfortable and cornered. I understood that the learning space I got access to would have my thoughts and expressions forcefully silenced routinely and shatter my sense of self-worth for the rest of my college days. My visible queerness challenged the already existing system and threatened it so much, that in defence, it always tries to box me and put me on the top of a cliff, constantly inducing me fear of being outed or thrown far away from existence. Being openly queer in closed spaces like educational institutions can result in being highly discriminated and mistreated. The cha

Sexism in Medicine : The Eternal Confusion and The Innocent Mistake

Sexism in medicine : The eternal confusion and the innocent mistake. Srimathi Gopalakrishnan I came across a blog post yesterday that talked about how female physicians have been repeatedly mistaken for and addressed as nurses or other health care professionals for ages now. Click here to read the article. It says, “ The persistence of sexism despite rising female representation indicates that the professional membership alone is insufficient”. I completely agree and I would be bold enough to say that the statement is still incomplete. We must understand that though increasing the numbers is an important way to fight the sexism, reducing the issue to just representative minority would be similar to treating the symptoms and not the disease. On taking a deeper look, one will realize that the real problem is the underlying patriarchy that stems into various forms of sexism, for example, the quick assumption that a female health care professional can only be a nurse -

Covid-19 – call to put back people in the center and not the disease

Covid-19 – call to put back people in the centre and not the disease Vijayaprasad Gopichandran and Sudharshini Subramaniam This blog is a different experiment. Sudharshini and I write our individual thoughts as two sub-blogs and then I synthesize our ideas to create a collective message. This is a follow up to our previous blog titled “ Social Distancing….you must be kidding me ”. 134 to home-isolation and many more to go… Sudharshini Subramaniam Tense and nervous patients were sitting in the Covid-19 isolation ward of my hospital. The government of Tamil Nadu has recently come out with an advisory for home isolation of patients with asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid-19. I walked in, part of a team of doctors, into the ward to see all of them, talk to them and triage them to identify those who can be sent for home isolation and those who need to be admitted into the hospital. The dominant feelings among all were fear, anxiety and worry. Al

Through the masked face, express empathy

Through the masked face, express empathy Vijay Gopichandran For many people Covid-19 and the lock-down have completely changed their lives. For some of us, privileged lot, not much as changed. My 7-day work week has not changed. I am not locked down inside my home and go out to the hospital every day. For some of us, the not so ‘socially active’ lot, not meeting people, not hanging out, not going out for lunches and dinners etc. also do not matter much. But when I look at my work closely, I have realized that so much has changed. The change has been so sudden, but the ambient uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic has made it imperceptible. Yesterday, I saw the video of an innovative ‘no contact’ Covid-19 screening clinic. It is a model of screening patients with suspected Covid-19 while minimizing the contact between the patient and the doctor. The video goes like this. The patient’s token number is called out in the public announcement system. A well dressed, confident

Small deeds to maintain normalcy during pandemic times

Small deeds to maintain normalcy during pandemic times Vijay Gopichandran About two weeks ago, two of my colleagues and I sat in a large room, separating ourselves at the recommended 2 meter distance from each other and my senior colleague remarked “It is as though the ‘reset button’ for the world has been pressed. We all will soon have to adapt to a new normal in our lives”.  It was the beginning of the lock-down of the whole country to contain the spread of Covid-19. Since there are no public transport vehicles on the roads and I do not drive or own any private vehicles, I have started walking from and to the hospital. The distance is not much, just about 3 KM, but I am seeing things which I have never seen before. There are a bunch of people living on the pavements near the metro station on the way to my hospital. They were part of the background tapestry of the urban busy life that I had never noticed them before. One family has a young man, a woman and two scrawny ki