Dr. Huma Ali, Senior Resident at Hardinge Medical College & Hospital - New Delhi
Serving as a doctor above and beyond everything else : Dr. Huma Ali speaks on treating patients amidst the pandemic and keeping them motivated towards the path of recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how outpatient care is delivered in health care practices. For the past two years healthcare leaders have had to shoulder the massive responsibilities of treating and looking after patients day and night to save lives. These tough times has resulted in significant burdens globally. From experiencing emotional & physical exhaustion to juggling between personal and professional life, healthcare workers even today are successfully treating Covid and non-Covid patients. Inspite of being at the risk of exposure doctors are relentlessly performing their duties. Speaking on this never seen before pandemic times our guest, a renowned Gynaecologist, Dr. Huma Ali, Senior Resident at Hardinge Medical College & Hospital - New Delhi, shares her part of the story of adapting and working in these unprecedented times.
“It is a very difficult time” says Dr. Huma Ali, “As gynaecologists, we have to be very careful with the patients as there are two lives attached to a single case.”
How was it working during tough times like the Covid-19 situation?
The huge surge in Covid-19 patients has certainly increased our workload and stress and has put us in a state of complete burnout. At times we get completely exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally, but when you see your patients suffering you totally forget about yourself and get back to work. I think that feeling keeps us going on and on.
What are the challenges you face while treating your patients during the lockdown?
The fear of infection is so high in people that they do not want to visit hospitals to avoid getting infected. People don't come for their regular antenatal check-ups which causes late diagnosis/treatment and affects the mother and her baby. We try our level best to make them aware of the importance of regular check-ups but they are still fearful.
How are you making treatment available to your patients outside the hospital?
These days since most of the patients are trying to avoid coming to hospitals in fear of infection, telemedicine and lab facilities at home have helped us a lot. We now talk to them on the phone and through video calls for all possible diagnosis. Also, online delivery of medicines has given them access to all prescribed medicines without having to move out of their homes.
Do you see telemedicine and video conferencing as the future for doctors?
Video conferencing is a convenient aid at times to avoid the stress and hassles of visiting a hospital in our busy schedules. But there is a big-time disadvantage that you cannot examine a patient on video conferencing which I think is an essential component of patient assessment. Telemedicine is certainly helpful but it cannot replace conventional hospital visits.
How effective do you find social medial platforms are to fight the misinformation and create awareness about effective COVID precautions and treatments?
We all know social media plays an important role in controlling the mindsets of people, so definitely it is an effective platform and should be used judiciously in a proper way.
Being a frontline Covid warrior how did you manage to keep yourself healthy & stress-free while balancing your work and personal life?
Since immunity is the most crucial element in the fight against Covid-19, all of us need to take healthy diet, proper nutrition, and hydration. Keep yourself stress- free and worry less. Do things that you like, learn new skills, meditate, and keep your spirits high. I too had become positive in the line of duty, but today I am back to my work in full capacity. So, worry less and adapt to a healthy lifestyle.
How important is a balanced diet and physical activities (like a workout, yoga) to boost immunity and fight against COVID 19?
In order to stay fit and healthy, we need to focus on a diet as well as physical activity. A well-balanced diet gives your body the raw material to boost immunity and yoga/exercise strengthens your body function to fight against Covid-19 and its negative effect. So, please include them in your daily life as they have now become essential to boost your immunity.
How can expecting mothers save themselves from getting the effects of COVID 19?
Pregnancy itself lowers the immunity level of the woman, making them more vulnerable for COVID-19. The protocol for prevention remains the same for expecting mothers, but expecting mothers should be very overly cautious as many Covid treatment drugs are not that safe in pregnancy. So, wear your mask properly, maintain social distancing and hygiene.
Any tips to improve our immunity?
Eat healthy, stay positive and take proper rest. Eat more and more fruits, nuts, vegetables and make sure you include vitamin C and natural immunity boosters like chavanprash, haldi milk, kadha, green tea in your dietary schedule, and most importantly, get vaccinated.
The role and importance of doctors in our lives was never valued more than now. Serving as a doctor above and beyond everything else is no mean feat. “We are facing difficult times, but no reward can be bigger than the precious smile on the mother’s face when a newborn baby is delivered to her” says Dr. Ali. Her love for the profession started when she got a
doctor’s set as a gift for her 5th birthday. That childhood thought of becoming a doctor to heal people was deep-rooted in her mind helping her pursue her career. “As I grew up, I was very sure of what I wanted in life and developed more passion towards it.” she added. Today, she is an established gynaecologist with more than 10 years of experience and has worked with a few of the most reputed hospitals like Hindu Rao Hospital, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi.
Although we have been through some of the worst times COVID-19 hasn’t ended. Instead, infection rates are going up & down with new variants trying to spread rapidly. But with vaccinations made available to all, this time the suffering seems different because it is avoidable. Today, when our frontline workers like Dr. Ali are putting their lives at risk to ensure that we live well, the least we can do is to strengthen their efforts by following the Covid-19 norms and getting vaccinated at the earliest. After all, it’s only us who can help our heroes in this fight against Covid-19 and defeat it.
“We are facing difficult times, but no reward can be bigger than the precious smile on the mother’s face when a newborn baby is delivered to her”