Meet Kashmir’s braveheart women docs who risk their lives to treat corona patients

File photo of SMHS Hospital in Srinagar

Srinagar, Mar 30:  It is around 2 am and Dr. Bilquis Shah, after spending 17 hours in the hospital, is readying to go home only to return at the first light.

A Resident Medical Officer (RMO) at Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital, Dr. Bilquis has been working round the clock to treat COVID-19 at the quarantine center, unmindful of her own health.

“Since the hospital was declared as a treatment center for coronavirus, I had spent most of the time in treating positive cases and counseling people who are in quarantine. I have dedicated my life to the service of people,” Dr. Bilquis said.

With her husband, Shabir Shah languishing in Tihar Jail and an elder daughter studying abroad, Dr. Bilquis’s younger daughter stays at home all alone. “I have had no time for my family. I have not spoken to my elder daughter for many days. I am worried about her safety, yet I am here for the service of my people,” she said.

It has been a tough task for Dr. Bilquis given her responsibility as a doctor and a  mother. “I just go home for a few hours to change clothes, sanitize myself and my accessories. I sleep hardly for a few hours.  Although I am in administration, I am working alongside doctors, nurses because they were scared of treating COVID-19 patients initially. After proper counseling and guidance all staff came on board,” she said

Dr. Bilquis is not an isolated case. Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are working overtime despite being at the risk of contracting infection given the poor facilities.

 “I have a year old son who I need to breastfeed. But working in the hospital till late night is making it impossible. I cry when I think of him. Even after properly sanitizing myself and changing clothes I don’t feel safe to feed him. Most of the time he is asleep when I reach home,” said another woman doctor who is at the forefront of treating coronavirus patients.

Dr. Shahzada, another doctor associated with tackling COVID-19, said medicos are risking their own lives to save the infected patients. “It would have not been difficult for doctors to treat such patients had we been provided proper personal protection gear,” she said.

She said the protective gears provided by the authorities are not up to mark. “We still discharge our responsibilities despite knowing that there is risk involved. This is not a favor to anyone rather it is our duty to serve mankind,” she said.

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