I am an MBBS doctor and was preparing for the NEET-PG examination to get into post-graduation course, scheduled in April 2021. It was deferred due to increased cases of COVID-19 and some political issues. I was incredibly angry with this deferment decision since I was preparing for the exams seriously for a few months. We were even given the admit cards a week before the scheduled date of examination. We had even visited the test center. Then two nights before the examination it was announced that it has been deferred indefinitely. I was frustrated and was feeling hopeless.
I joined back Medica Hospital, Ranchi but I also had some hours left to spare. So, on the advice of my boss / mentor Dr. Sanjay Kumar (Neurosurgery HOD, Medica Hospital, Ranchi), I planned on joining a new Institution named Berlin Covid Care opened recently in Ranchi for taking care of Covid patients. Dr. Atri Gangopadhyay (Pulmonologist) had recently left our institution and was now associated with this new institution. In Medica, it was like a rumor that this new institution belonged to him, but rather he had just joined there as a consultant. I still think there are several people who still believe in this rumor.
After the meeting with the Directors, Dr. Ambuj and Dr. Pranab, I came to know that this was not just a temporary setup as they also had long-standing plans for this hospital to develop it into multispecialty hospital in the future after the pandemic subsides. They promised a handsome salary and agreed to my conditions of working in my primary institution as well as here. So, the deal was struck.
I joined there on 28 April 2021. My first day was like any other first day. New faces, awkward silences etc. So, my first day went pretty much introducing each other. Knowing names and faces (which I always have a problem with). I met Dr. Ranjit who was like the oldest and most influential Medical Officer since he was awfully close to the directors and was handpicked by them, although I was through a much higher channel and senior to anyone there (after the consultants Dr. Atri and Dr. Krishna), but it is fun to let others feel superior, just give it time and all come down crumbling (I feel so cynical right now, LOL). I also met Dr. Manish who had just completed internship after MBBS and had joined for pretty much same reason as mine. So, he is like a budding flower who would still need the light of experience to bloom. The first day just went by eventless.
Well here comes Day 2, where things took a definite turn. As I reached the hospital, I was informed by Dr. Manish that one of the patients was deteriorating. I hurried up to him and saw that the patient was gasping but no one had an idea what to do next. I had just gone from my night duty in Medica Hospital and so I was pretty much drained and after seeing that everyone was standing still in a panic, my head just burst into flames (like what happens in the animations, KABOOM). I lost my temper and started yelling at the staff there while scolding for their incompetency. As for the fact the patient was in an overly critical condition and nothing done could revert him any time soon, but I felt it unacceptable to just let him pass away. Sometimes you just run towards a dead-end knowingly. That is what human emotions make you do. So started all emergency procedures and administering the life-saving drugs. But his lungs were in so poor condition that even after doing everything possible, we were unable to ventilate him properly and lost him to the disease. But since he died and I knew that a few more minutes would not have changed that outcome, but I was at the heat of the moment and his death was like the last nail in the coffin. I blasted.
That day, I shouted on everyone who came in my vicinity. The lack of documentation and poor management in everything just added the fuel. Sadly, even when the director came that day and I expressed my disappointments to him too, a bit rudely. But since it was a serious matter that should not be ignored, he listened to my rambling patiently and decided that we should have a meeting on the following Sunday to discuss the present shortcomings.
We decided on multiple things that need to be changed and modified during our Sunday meeting. That was the day I came to know about the other medical officers named: Dr. Sharukh, Dr. Ranvijay, Dr. Rahul, Dr. Ishant and they are all freshers from different colleges in India and abroad. So, we became determined for making this hospital worthy of working and be remembered.
From the next duty, we started to scold them at their mistakes while appreciating them for their job done well to correct their attitude towards patients and boost their morale also. Since then, everyone started respecting our words and orders like gospel since they knew else, they would bleed from their ears. As days went by, there was a significant improvement in the quality of services provided by the nursing and management. There was a remarkable difference between them before and after. Although as it is a working place, there were multiple small instances of arguments, learning, scolding mismanagement. But we slowly but steadily week by week becoming better at enduring the shortcomings.
Information system was getting stronger and hence working of all the cogs were getting better. Mr. Badal, our GM was also improving his managerial skills and started working as a lubricant rather than being friction in the system. Mr. Ajay our housekeeping head and Mr. Parwez our security head all did their jobs with conviction. We, medical officers, had absolute authority over all the decisions after the consultants, as with great power comes great responsibility. We started taking better-informed decisions with the goal of patient’s better management and care. We, with the help of the management, made sure that proper advice is provided to the attendants about their patient’s condition. That helped us to deliver better patient care and insight to the attendants. As my boss always said, “It’s not the patients that need your assuring words, since they are in pain and if you relieve them of their problems, they will be happy, perhaps it is the attendant, you should try to console because they will spread the name of your behavior.” Hence, there should be complete transparency.
As the Nurses improved their skills, we planned to educate them, so that they do not panic at the time of emergency, rather will be ready to handle such situations with their knowledge and skill. As we all know knowledge can boost your confidence at times of need, we started delivering regular lectures and sessions for the nurses as well as the support staff and slowly they started catching up.
Finally, all our efforts had been very fruitful as we successfully treated over 200 patients in a month with the unfortunate death of 4 patients, which means a mortality rate of less than 2 percent, which is a remarkable performance because the hospital was opened to take care of COVID-19 patients during a pandemic situation. Thanks God, the pandemic subsided a month later of the fateful opening. The directors have now planned to remodel the hospital with plans, to begin with a new Superspeciality hospital in a couple of months, which would be interesting to see unfold.
Sadly, all of us had to bid farewell to this place where we learned a lot from our experience despite several shortcomings among us as well as in the new institution. It was a wonderful learning experience for me as I have always worked in a well-equipped renowned private institution.
On 31 May 2021 Berlin Covid Care management and staff held a farewell party for us, the medical officers. The meal was unbelievably delicious and the mood was heart-warming. After that, we all exchanged goodbye and moved away from our memorable yesterday towards an even brighter tomorrow.
Thanking Berlin Covid Care from the core of my heart and everyone associated with it to make it a memorable and enjoyable journey. It would never have been the same without you.