One early morning in June, Deep Chand found a distraught relative of a Covid-19 patient standing outside the coronavirus ward in a hospital in India’s capital, Delhi.
The guy was desperately trying to speak with a physician or nurse to find out about the condition of his relative who was a patient in the ward.
But it was a terrible day for doctors – some patients had died, a couple of others were crucial, and new patients were being wheeled in throughout.
So Deep Chand, who worked as a ward kid – or assistant – approached the guy and asked if he could assist.
In the days that followed, we often count on Deep Chand and his associates whenever doctors were too busy to provide us updates.
We invested tense hours in your home or in the medical facility waiting for news from the ward.
It was tough since the very first two weeks of June saw a massive rise in Delhi’s Covid-19 case numbers. A lot of medical facilities were overrun, including the one where my brother-in-law was confessed.
Because turmoil, ward young boys like Deep Chand became messengers for dozens of families like ours.
I would typically see them consoling families, supporting them and taking messages to those patients who were too ill even to talk on the phone.
One day when my brother-in-law’s condition deteriorated, I was standing outside the ward and I broke down.
The doctor’s update was accurate. “We can’t say anything at the minute, he is not improving.”
However a ward kid approached me and stated: “Don’t worry, I have seen even severely ill clients recuperate.”
His confident words gave me some relief.
Talking To me on the phone now, more than a month later, he says he felt the pain of the households but there was little that the doctors and nurses might do to enhance communication.
” They were so hectic, they somehow handled to talk to the families of serious clients once a day. It’s nobody’s fault – none of us were gotten ready for this type of rush,” he states.
Rather, it was Deep Chand and other ward kids who would share what information they could about the patient’s development – they routinely notified me about my brother-in-law’s blood oxygen level.
” I can see the oxygen saturation level on the screen and I don’t mind sharing that details with families,” Deep Chand says.
I also saw Deep Chand take food and letters for clients from their families.
He states he has actually been working as a ward kid for five years, however Covid-19 has totally altered the way he works.
He adds that being in protective devices for 10-12 hours hurts, however it’s nothing “compared to what clients and their families go through”.
His colleague, Amit Kumar, nods in contract, while talking to me outside the Covid-19 ward one day. He states that even a little info goes a long way in assuring families.
” Sometimes the families rejoice with little things – like when we tell them that the client consumed effectively today or he smiled in the early morning.”
Every day, ward kids risk their lives in healthcare facilities across the country. Hundreds of them have been contaminated with the infection. Some have even died. However their contribution in the fight against Covid-19 is seldom mentioned.
The ward boys I spoke with state this doesn’t trouble them. Deep Chand states he is not trying to find special recognition.
When he was informed that he would need to work in the “corona ward” at the start of the break out in March, he confesses was worried. “I was frightened for my safety which of my household.”
But then, he includes, he realised that he would not think twice before entering into the ward if among his relative was ill.
” Every client is somebody’s household.”
That believed drove him to start working in the ward in April, and since then he has never thought about quitting.
And physicians value this. “Ward young boys are an important part of any ICU unit,” states Dr Sushila Kataria, the director of intensive care at Medanta Hospital.
” They enjoy our backs, they deal with discarded PPE sets and infectious samples. No physician can work without their aid,” she says.
” They are likewise heroes in this fight like physicians and nurses.”