Coronavirus Pandemic

#NextStopZero: UAE-based doctor narrates ordeals in emergency ward

Ashwani Kumar /Dubai Filed on September 22, 2020 | Last updated on September 22, 2020 at 06.12 am
#NextStopZero, coronavirus, UAE-based doctor, narrates, ordeals, emergency ward

(Supplied photos)

Dr Chinniah said there were certain cases where patients developed new complications, including blood clots in arteries, affecting the gallbladder.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Some of us are mourning the loss of a loved one, while others are trying to make ends meet after losing their jobs or taking a pay cut. The UAE is gradually restoring normalcy even as it reminds residents that the threat is far from over. Through this two-week series, Khaleej Times will feature residents who have endured a loss due to the virus, to remind you that the alarming surge in daily cases is more than just a number. #NextStopZero is a rallying call to get the community to adopt safe practices so as to bring down the infection rate.

An intensive care unit (ICU) is a stressful place for not just patients, but doctors, too, said an intensivist engaged in the fight against Covid-19.

Dr Karthikeyan Chinniah, specialist emergency medicine, Lifecare Hospital Mussafah, said amid the pandemic, residents must act responsibly to avoid the "painful weeks" in critical care.

"I request people to take care of themselves. The fight is not an easy one. If a person gets infected, he or she may spend a minimum of 10 to 15 days in the ICU. Many patients take 30 to 45 days to recover. We shifted a patient (to the ward) after three months. There was another case where a husband turned positive while his wife was pregnant. It was a very distressing period for the entire family and us. He was in the ICU for 50 days before getting discharged."

Dr Chinniah said there were certain cases where patients developed new complications, including blood clots in arteries, affecting the gallbladder.

"Covid-19 is creating new complications, which we are still trying to understand. We still don't know all the complications that this virus can cause. Usually with a known disease, you can anticipate the complications but with coronavirus we can't. It is very stressful as we try hard to bring the patient out of the ventilator and back to life."

Working without food, water

Dr Chinniah noted that each second counts in an emergency ward. There have been instances where he and his colleagues worked without food and water during their 12-hour shifts. They didn't want to waste any time in removing the personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting themselves and wearing the suit again.

"We wore PPEs for the entire 12-hour shifts. Once you wear the suit, you don't want to remove it during your shift as you will waste crucial minutes. I worked without food or even water during my 12-hour shifts. Usually I will eat something in the morning and then late at night. I also wanted to avoid going to restrooms. I lost 5kg with my 12-hour daily fasting."

Staying away from families

Dr Chinniah and his colleagues stayed away from their families, too.

"As a precautionary measure, we never went home. I didn't want to expose my wife and daughter to the infection. We all would stay put in hotels."

Dr Chinniah said his eight-year-old daughter understands the risks of stepping outdoors and continues to stay home. "She tells me that the coronavirus is standing outside, so she shouldn't go out."

However, Dr Chinniah, like all frontline workers, has a fight on their hands they don't want to lose.

"Since this pandemic and its mode of treatment was new, it was a challenging phase for us. I would read up on all the latest developments from the scientific world on medical treatment and how to respond to this disease."

He urged the community to continue the fight until the war is won.

"We need to avoid going out unnecessarily. I find people thronging the malls, which can lead to the spread of the virus. This will affect the future of our children. It's everyone's responsibility to save themselves, family, community and the country." 


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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