Meet Miss England Bhasha Mukherjee, a doctor fighting Covid-19 from the frontlines


Meet Miss England Bhasha Mukherjee, a doctor fighting Covid-19 from the frontlines

A pageant sash and a stethoscope: She wears both proudly

By Ankita Maneck  April 24th, 2020

Dr Bhasha Mukherjee won the Miss England title in August 2019, but that’s not the only title she is proud of. The 24-year-old beauty queen, who was born in Kolkata, also wears a stethoscope along with her pageant sash. At the time of her crowning, she was a practicing junior doctor who specialised in respiratory medicine and worked at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, UK.

Bhasha Mukherjee
Photo By Studio Ni Photography @ www.missengland.info  

In March, she was in India doing charity work as a part of her ambassadorship as Miss England when she started getting texts from her former colleagues at Pilgrim hospital. Coronavirus was spreading far and wide, and the number of Covid-19 patients greatly outweighed the number of doctors in the UK. Bhasha decided to pack her bags, take a flight back home and get back to work as a doctor at Pilgrim Hospital. After self-isolating for two weeks, she was ready to get back to work in mid-April. She gave us an insight into what it’s like being a doctor battling Covid-19 from the frontlines.

Excerpts from the interview:

ELLE: What inspired you to get back to your job as a junior doctor?
Dr Bhasha Mukherjee: I haven’t given up my crown despite some recent reports. Being Miss England and a doctor goes hand in hand with each other. The ethos of the Miss World competition is ‘Beauty with a Purpose.’ My sense of duty and solidarity with my fellow colleagues were a deciding factor of my decision to go back to work as a doctor. I have taken the Hippocratic oath for this very reason, and when so many retired docs came back to work, I thought it was the least I could do.

 

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ELLE: What’s your key takeaway about working as a doctor fighting the pandemic?
Dr Bhasha Mukherjee: We’re learning something new about the disease every day. It hasn’t spared anyone, so at this point, it’s wrong to assume that a specific age, ethnic group are safer than others. The same virus affects two very similar people very differently, and equally for how two individuals may respond to treatment. That’s why prevention should be of primary priority and the best prevention is to stay at home and FAR, FAR away from everybody! Doctors as front liners don’t have this choice, and some of my colleagues are getting severely unwell. Some are even dying serving patients. People at home, please respect the gift of choice you have and follow government instructions.

 

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ELLE: You’re also putting in long hours and dealing with stressful situations. What’s your secret to keep going?
Dr Bhasha Mukherjee:
I have faith in a higher power. I believe god puts us on earth for a purpose and I hold on to the notion that I am serving that purpose and till that purpose is fulfilled, he will protect me from harm’s way and keep me going so I can continue with my purpose.

 

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ELLE: Being on the frontline also comes at a high risk of contracting it yourself. How would you prepare yourself mentally for that?
Dr Bhasha Mukherjee: I try to distract myself. I am very upset with the state of our hospital staff in the way of lack of protective measures for us and with my position and social media influence, trying to bring attention to these issues so I can help bring about change in the system to help my colleagues out as well as myself. I’m keeping a regular video diary of my day and the issues I am facing–this has helped me distance myself emotionally from the reality of the situation.