India lost 269 doctors to COVID-19 since the first week of April. Out of these, 50 doctors died on Sunday (May 16). States like Bihar (78), and Uttar Pradesh (37) and Delhi (28) have reported maximum casualties, as per the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
The IMA stated that only 3 per cent of these doctors received vaccination, adding that only 66 per cent of India's doctors have been fully vaccinated five months into the nationwide vaccination programme.
Dr Anas Mujahid, a 26-year-old junior resident doctor at Delhi's Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital succumbed to the virus earlier this month. Mujahid is the youngest doctor casualty out of the 244 doctors who died in the second COVID-19 wave.
His colleague Aamir Sohail told news agency PTI, "We had gone to Mujahid's home for Iftar. When we were on our way back to the hotel where we were staying (for isolation purposes as they were on regular hospital duty), Mujahid said he was feeling feverish. The hospital was on our way, so we decided to visit the hospital for getting a COVID test done."
The 26-year old doctor tested positive via the rapid antigen test (RAT) and suddenly collapsed while the doctor was writing the prescription. Following this, Mujahid was immediately shifted to the casualty emergency and a CT scan was done which showed clotting in his brain and he was put on a ventilator. Despite all the efforts, Mujahid could not be saved, said Sohail.
Sohail added, "I still can't believe it. We had been friends, roommates, and batchmates at the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS). We had joined in March. It is extremely difficult for me to process the loss."
In government facilities and private hospitals, the second COVID-19 wave has not only stretched India's healthcare infrastructure beyond its limits but also impacted the physical and psychological well-being of doctors.
Senior Consultant at Apollo Hospitals Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee said the recent drop in daily COVID-19 cases came as a sigh of relief since it was an 'absolute nightmare' in COVID-19 wards before.
Chatterjee stated, "We are trained as doctors to handle pain and deaths in front of us, but the sheer number of fatalities every day, when you see your patients in unbearable pain or their relatives pleading to save their lives or when they are struggling on ventilators, one feels helpless against this raging virus."
Chatterjee, who has been in the profession for around 25 years, said the pandemic 'changed his life' when he saw his 'own colleagues and family friends suffering in pain and then die with such severity and frequency, it became unbearable.'
Edited by Mehak Agarwal; with PTI inputs