LETTERS: I AM an Emergency doctor and today marks Day 6 of my quarantine. This is a result of a man’s family denying that he was exposed to a Covid-19-positive person.
My colleague and housemen were attending to this patient. As she was unsure about this case, I stepped in to help. Again, the family denied his Covid-19 link. So I continued examining the patient, wearing only my three-ply surgical mask.
Later, my specialist came over and asked the golden questions again. Healthcare workers ask these during this phase of Covid-19. Yet again the family made their denials.
Concluding that this case had nothing to do with Covid-19, we admitted the patient to the general ward. But his condition deteriorated and the ward doctors had to intubate him.
Fast forward, we got to know that one of the patient’s relatives was admitted for Covid-19. A swab was taken from this patient and boom, it was POSITIVE.
Now here comes the horrifying part. All healthcare workers who were in close contact (touched the patient) were obliged to take their swabs. I was ordered to take my swab the very same day.
I was calm when my specialist called and informed me about the process. I told my husband (he was on call that day). Upon reaching the quarantine area in the hospital, I patiently waited for my turn.
Then when I was called to take my swab, I sat calmly and a short briefing was given by my very own colleague, who was now in the Covid-19 team. The swab process was the most gruelling one minute of my life. The uneasy feeling in both nostrils and throat lasted till the next day.
I waited patiently for 48 hours under quarantine. The results finally came out NEGATIVE, thank God. However, I need to undergo a second swab. For this, I will still wait patiently because I am a responsible Malaysian.
At times like this, I am glad and thank the Almighty that I am staying away from my family (not to spread the virus to the elderly and my siblings) and I have no child to take care of. By now, Malaysians, being active on social media, would have come across hundreds of stories of healthcare workers who have to stay away from their parents and children.
Some of them have spouses who are not healthcare workers. So they can care for their children. In many cases, both are healthcare workers; so they may send their children to their parents who live nearby.
What about those who have no family members nearby to help care for their children during this time of crisis? What would they do? Do you know how difficult it is?
As for that one case we dealt with, many staff members such as housemen, medical officers, specialists, staff nurses, medical assistants, radiology department assistants are being quarantined. Can you imagine if any of you lie or deny your contact history, how many more of us will be quarantined and this will result in a major manpower shortage.
There are many healthcare workers now being quarantined and this isn't a good sign in this deadly phase.
I have a burning desire to get back to work and battle this pandemic alongside my colleagues. All I can do now is wait for my 14-day quarantine to end.
Dear Malaysians, please be responsible. If you have any contact with a Covid-19-positive person, travel history or went to tabligh/gatherings, please tell us.
We are here to help. Help us to help you. We will fight this battle together.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times