New Delhi: “We are giving our 1,000 percent right now. It’s not like before. I don’t even have the time to process this right now. I can’t afford to have a mental breakdown. I haven’t seen my family for weeks now,” said a doctor from the Delhi government’s largest Covid facility, the Lok Nayak hospital, which is running at its full capacity. It’s not just about one doctor or one hospital. The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the country and its healthcare system hard. In current times, each hospital is echoing with cries of help, some seeking beds, some are trying to get oxygen supply and some are just numb and staring at their family members who are gasping for air.

Shortage of oxygen supply, beds, and drugs have become the new normal in this wave of coronavirus pandemic. Several hospitals have now taken to social media to inform about the shortage of oxygen and request the government to help them save lives.

“I am working in Covid wards for over a year. The current wave is definitely something we need to worry about. People need to understand we are doing everything to save every life. Family members of infected patients come to me and start yelling, crying, and begging. It breaks my heart. All of this is taking a toll on us. We have no clue about our own family members. We are trying to do everything we can with whatever resources we have. It’s not our fault. So many of my colleagues have tested positive again. This is too much,” a doctor from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

Dr Rohit Arora, Head of Neonatology & Pediatric, Miracles Mediclinic & Apollo Cradle Hospital, Gurgaon told The Sunday Guardian: “It is difficult to manage the number of patients coming in seeking beds, oxygen, and ICU beds. The number of patients inside and waiting outside hospitals is almost the same. There is a huge shortage of oxygen and most hospitals can arrange a refill only when they are left with very little in stock. There is also a shortage of laboratory technicians who carry out the test as they are also getting infected–reports of laboratories halting tests are discomforting as it can make many undiagnosed people spread the infection. But given the shortage of manpower, they are perhaps not left with any other option.”

Dr Jesal Sheth, Senior Consultant-Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund told The Sunday Guardian: “Doctors and healthcare workers are busy day and night in managing infected care-seeking individuals. Society has to act responsibly and cut the chain of Covid-19 transmission by following proper Covid measures, taking vaccines, and following local government strategies and guidelines for lockdowns–these are meant to break the chain of transmission.”

Some doctors also said that despite their constant efforts, people blame them and hospitals. Dr Vinit Samdani, a pediatrician at Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, told The Sunday Guardian: “We are facing non-compliance from patient sides. People are not availing proper treatment in an early phase and when complications set in, the blame game starts. There is also a negative impact of social media; instead of asking about the crippled system of healthcare infrastructure to politicians, doctors are targeted. Also, the hard work of doctors and healthcare staff should be highlighted more to lift their spirits.”

Dr Yogesh Kumar Gupta, Consultant- Paediatrics, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, told The Sunday Guardian: “I feel lack of adequate hospital beds, lack of essential medicines and most importantly, oxygen shortage are the problems we are facing. This has become explosive now and we are finding it hard in terms of healthcare infrastructure.”

Scores of relatives of infected patients stand cluelessly outside hospitals’ mortuaries. Some of them don’t even know whether their family members are alive or not. The whole family of Roohi (name changed) is Covid positive except her. Her family members were first admitted to Raja Satyawadi Raja Harishchandra Hospital. First, her mother got critical and then others. All alone, she was calling desperately for beds, Remdesivir, and oxygen and praying that her mother stays alive.

“I have shifted them to a hospital in Noida. But I will still look for beds. It’s so bad. There is nothing. I don’t know what to do and who to approach. The entire healthcare system has collapsed,” she said.