#CoronaScare victim: doctors face discrimination
They are being hailed as heroes around the world; some call them warriors who are on the front lines to lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic; On Sunday, the entire nation broke Janata Curfew's deafening silence for a few minutes to applaud and cheer them on. And yet, the same medical professionals who are praised on social media during the day are rejected at night in their societies, apartment complexes, and rented houses when they return from hospitals. Yes. we are talking about doctors who meet discrimination since the COVID-19 scare hit the state. We're being applauded with greetings on social media, but in the real world, no one wants to get close to us, Junior says. doctors , interns and medical students, who work 24 hours in the fight against coronavirus .
On Tuesday, Ahmed Uzair, a surgeon from the home of Warangal , took the Internet by storm when he wrote about how many doctors in the city are being asked to vacate their rented homes because people feel “ doctors staying in their homes will make them more susceptible to the virus.” “One owner said that we were dirty. We were evicted without any notice and most of the doctors are now stranded on the roads with their luggage, with nowhere to go. Our campus hostels too are being converted into isolation wards,” Ahmed posted on his Facebook page.
‘Just cos we work in hospitals, people think we’re infected with coronavirus’
Like Ahmed, many doctors from across the country shared similar experiences of facing discrimination at their colonies or on the streets. Raghavi Latha, an intern at Nampally Government Hospital, says she might not have a home to live in after two months. “I stay at a paying guest accommodation in Ashok Nagar and my landlord is scared that I might bring the virus from the hospital. Thankfully, I have a signed agreement for the next two months so he cannot ask me to leave right away, but he has already indicated that I’ll have to make alternate arrangements once the contract runs out. It breaks my heart that we’re being kicked out of homes despite working selflessly round the clock to take care of the ill,” she says.
Doctors who don’t have their own vehicles to commute in also faced discrimination while travelling in public transport before the lockdown was announced. Madhuri Ravi, a house surgeon at Gandhi hospital, says, “When patients who tested positive for coronavirus started getting shifted to isolation wards at Gandhi hospital, we noticed the traffic around the hospital almost disappeared. People ran away from us like we’re the plague. Autos refused to take me back home and cab drivers would cancel the ride looking at my pick-up location. They would think that because the hospital has
coronavirus patients, the doctors too are infected.”
While the country is in lockdown mode for the next three weeks and public transport is non-functional, the discrimination of young medical professionals continues in other ways. “After the coronavirus outbreak in Hyderabad, people started thinking that every doctor treats only corona infected patients. I play with kids in my neighbourhood everyday but for the last couple of weeks, they stopped coming near me. I was told their parents asked them to stay away from me since I
work in a hospital,” shares Swetha Sivalenka, a fourth year medical student from Hyderabad, adding, “Now, there is a lockdown. but still when people see a white coat and a mask, they get scared. Even when I go out to buy groceries or other essentials, people seem to be extremely wary of my presence and are uncomfortable around me. This ignorance and discrimination are disheartening.”
Doctors are working hard, we must raise their morale: Minister of Health
The discrimination faced by healthcare professionals was condemned by the government with Union Health Minister Dr Harard Vardhan taking to social media to express his concern. “I’m feeply angusshed to see reports pouring in from Delhi, Noida, Warangal ,Chennai etc that doctors & paramedics are being ostracised in residential complexes & societies. Landlords are threatening to evict them fearing #COVID2019 infection. Pls don’t panic ! #CoronavirusLockdown (sic),” the Health Minister tweeted, adding, “All precautions are being taken by doctors & staff on #COVID2019 duty to ensure they’re not carriers of infection in anyway. Any harsh steps will demoralise them, derail the system.On Sunday,nation applauded their selfless services. It’s our bounden duty 2 keep their morale high (sic).”
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