‘We stay here for you, please stay home for us’ is the message that has been widely circulated. So how has it been on the other side? Dr Sathyani Wevita (29) a clinical researcher at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) shares her experience at the frontline.
Sathyani was tasked with the duties of sample collection and facilitating Covid-related research by monitoring patients. At the start of the pandemic, there was a general fear of working with an unknown virus. “I kept telling myself this is the moment for me to do something valuable for my people and contribute to this global effort. I’ve always been a person who wanted to make a difference, so I’m proud that I was able to serve at the frontline”, she says.
Like many doctors during this period, Sathyani overworked herself, isolated from her family and faced many difficulties. However, she dismissed her personal challenges and highlighted the undue stress, anxiety and stigmatisation of the Covid-19 patients instead. She recalls, “They were afraid, away from family, facing uncertainty, hopelessness and were financially constrained. One incident that particularly moved me was the emotional challenges faced by a mother who was separated from her one-year-old son for almost 50 days. This was an agonising time for the mother who would ask me repeatedly every day, am I cured? Am I able to go home? These are the challenging moments in our jobs.” Sathyani was able to comfort her by sending positive personal messages through an intercom as the patient was in a sealed cubicle.
“This pandemic has affected people mentally, and their emotional baggage is immense.
That’s why I strive to do better with my patients, taking some time to understand and console them”, she says. “As a doctor, I personally believe that we should go one step further and treat patients with kindness and empathy rather than seeing them only from a medical perspective. I believe in healing patients with the best possible care.”