The doctor who went viral for dancing in a PPE kit opens up about being a frontline warrior
Mumbai-based Dr Richa Negi currently works at a BMC Covid-19 specialised hospital
“I decided on the song Garmi (because it describes our situation wearing the PPE gear) and the steps 15 minutes before shooting the dance video. Amidst the current duty, I had forgotten it was Doctor’s Day and had just realised it. My original thought was to bring a smile to people’s faces, even if it’s just 10 people. The wonders of being positive will pleasantly surprise you. I have seen both science and miracles closely which is why I feel we should never ever lose hope.
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Right now, one of the biggest struggles doctors face on the frontlines is that we are constantly exposed to the virus; wearing those suits for long hours is really hard. Imagine wearing layers of clothing of strange materials in a climate like Mumbai’s and then not being able to use the washroom, eat or drink anything for the entire shift. Now it’s become more of a habit and it doesn’t feel like a big deal anymore as long as patients get cured. We do face hardships sometimes in terms of lack of equipment and staff. Ideally, there should be a lot more manpower involved to fight such a pandemic. But no one pre-empted a ghastly situation like this one and everyone is doing their best.
We have been very strict about wearing our masks off duty and PPE kits correctly on duty. During duty, we live in a hotel, so we sanitise our rooms everyday as much as possible and wash ourselves properly as soon as we reach our rooms. Then we move on to chores like washing clothes, which is difficult when all you want to do is lie on the bed and doze off. We don’t really get much free time but I do try to dance to beat the stress and teach my roomie some moves too.
My family was really worried in the beginning but by now they believe in me and know I can handle it well. It’s been really long since I saw them, so we miss each other. I might leave for my post-graduation soon, so I have even less time with them. Being away from them is excruciatingly hard but duty comes first.
Recently, I was attending to a patient on a regular basis and after he was cured, he actually came up to me and thanked me with folded hands. I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t know what to say. At just 25, I never thought I’d see something like that. Then there was a 101-year-old man who was given discharge after beating the coronavirus and he celebrated his 101th birthday in the hospital. I wasn’t there at that time but it’s moments like these that make us realise the importance of our profession and the ability to make a difference. It definitely helps us in increasing our resilience and motivation to fight harder.”
Photographs: Courtesy of Dr Richa Negi