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Unprecedented COVID pandemic has posed a great challenge: Tata Steel’s Dr Rajan Chaudhry

Jamshedpur, June 30: Every year, July 1 is celebrated as National Doctors’ Day by the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The day is observed to commemorate the birth and death anniversary of former Bengal’s Chief Minister Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy. The day is dedicated to all the doctors and healthcare workers who have been serving the people by risking their lives.  Pandemic has once again reminded us about the contributions and sacrifices made by doctors and healthcare workers around the globe. The fraternity’s contribution in overall wellbeing of our society is immense. On the eve of National Doctors’ Day (July 1), Dr. Rajan Chaudhry, advisor, Medical Services, Tata Steel, talks about how he took up medicine as a career and also shares his experience, especially during Covid-19.

Why did you choose to become a doctor?

I wanted to become an engineer but, I chose the medical profession at my father’s insistence. In 1972, I got selected in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, finished MBBS in 1976 and the journey continued as a super-specialist in gastrointestinal surgery and later moved towards administration. I superannuated from the Armed Forces as Director General – Medical Services Indian Air Force and joined Tata Steel in 2016 post retirement from the forces.

Can you please share your experience, especially during COVID-19?

COVID-19 has been a unique experience. Every sphere of life has been impacted, worldwide. As the pandemic unfolded we established Covid beds, treatment protocols and managed a larger number of patients with the resources available. Since little was known about COVID-19 at the beginning, it was a challenge. We went by the guidelines issued by the government, ICMR, and WHO and did our best as per our capability. We were successful in: Establishing RTPCR lab during the 1st wave of COVID-19 and creating 1000 beds in TMH and outside the hospital during the 1st wave, both for treatment and isolation.  

During the second wave, we had 450 treatment beds with an oxygen-giving facility inside the hospital of which 50 were invasive ventilator beds. Very few hospitals had this kind of facility during the pandemic.  In addition, we had 150 Covid beds outside TMH for asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic patients.

The second wave has been much harsher than the first one. The requirement for oxygen, ventilators, and HFNO were much higher, and even after recovery patients continued to be in the hospital for oxygen and other ventilator support. This was a great challenge and we hoped to overcome these problems.

As we prepare for the third wave, we need more oxygen and ventilator beds with a larger workforce. We need to streamline our protocols to make things comfortable and beneficial for the patients. Communication between the hospital and patients’ families/relatives is important.  Multiple initiatives were undertaken to communicate about patient well-being.

Work-Life Balance:

I enjoy working and like to address challenges to the best of my capabilities.  The most peaceful time of the day for me is during my morning walk. I avoid long personal phone calls as throughout the day I am talking. I have my meals as per set time and relax by watching comedy movies. One should fight the stress out and keep oneself healthy. I miss playing golf and being a social person, I miss the interactions and meeting friends.

Precautions for 3rd Wave:

Get yourself, family and friends vaccinated. The more people get vaccinated the lesser the chance of pandemic hitting us as hard as it did this time. Wear a proper mask to protect yourself. Follow all COVID-19 protocols. Parents with small children should be vaccinated. Ladies who are planning a pregnancy should first get vaccinated and lactating mothers should get themselves vaccinated

Any special message to the public:

Follow the precautionary guidelines. Take your vaccination. Wear your mask and maintain social distancing. Be mentally tough, strong, and help the ones who are vulnerable.

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