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‘I stared at the dead in horror’: Kashmir doctor who had a close shave with death gets back to work

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Srinagar: It all began in July last year when 40-year-old Dr Syed Arif Hussain posted at Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial (JLNM) Hospital contracted the virus. Within no time, the virus held him in its tight grip and he was left gasping for breath.

The doctor was rushed to Government Chest Diseases Hospital Srinagar where he was admitted for two months. His oxygen saturation dropped considerably and he lost around 14 kilograms of weight during this period.


“I remember talking to patients lying on the adjacent beds. One moment they were alright and the next moment, they were no more. The dead lay there untouched until they were taken for burial. I stared at them in horror and felt the haunting silence of death all around,” Dr. Arif recalled.

However, his struggle against the deadly virus and eventual triumph over it has been inspiring. No sooner he tested positive; he was back attending to patients in the COVID-19 ward in September last.

Of late, Dr. Arif was offered a non-COVID duty which he rejected outrightly and preferred to be at the frontlines. This earned him an appreciation from Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha, who hailed his untiring efforts towards treating the patients.

“After recovery from COVID19, Dr. Syed Arif was offered to join non-Covid duty but he refused and start working at JLNM Hospital Srinagar to serve the Covid patients,” tweeted the Office of Lt. Governor of J&K.

“I had a close shave with death and came out more determined to cure the sick and help them live,” Dr. Arif said, who is an anesthetist and pain management specialist at JLNM Hospital.

At present, the frontline worker is posted in the ICU and works a 16-hour shift. “I will not run away from the battlefield. When I was ill, a lot of people helped me survive. Now it is my turn to repay their kindness by ensuring their well-fare,” he said.