COVID-19: While Dr Gomes hopes for the development of a vaccine soon, he also puts equal weightage on the need to treat people with human proximity.
Coronavirus pandemic: In Goa, doctors modified the coronavirus treatment with a human touch to ensure the recovery of its patients. The state has witnessed seven positive cases so far and it has no active cases now. While the state is gearing up for a possible second wave of the disease, with the return of sailors from Mumbai, one of the recovered patient has paid a visit to the COVID-19 facility in Goa to give Dr Edwin Gomes, the lead doctor of the team handling the disease, a hug, an IE report stated.
The reason for the gesture was the humanitarian manner in which the patients were being treated in the state, the report added. The first patient in Goa was admitted to the ESIS Hospital on March 18, while the last patient was discharged from the facility on April 19. During this time, Dr Gomes was testing the power of human proximity in the treatment.
While Dr Gomes hopes for the development of a vaccine soon, he also puts equal weightage on the need to treat people with human proximity.
All over the world, patients of coronavirus are taken by health officials wearing hazmat suits and put into isolation with no contact with families or friends. However, DR Gomes team of four resident doctors – Dr Harshal Mamlekar, Dr Geetali Velip, Dr Masood Mujawar and Dr Nidhi Prabhu – and the nursing staff decided to incorporate into their treatment simple things like reassuring the patients that they would be alright while answering their questions.
They also decided to not let any patient feel alone, and started visiting each patient thrice, in the morning, afternoon and evening. They would ask the patients simple questions about their hours, their families, their homes, and would ask them if they slept alright, dreamt of anything or any memory they wanted to discuss, the report said, quoting Dr Gomes. The questions would change according to the time of the round, with afternoons spent to emphasise on the consumption of cool water to distract them from the fact that there was no AC in the hospital, and the evening spent listening to the patients’ dilemmas. The doctors would then exchange notes amongst themselves.
These conversations are being conducted by the doctors globally, but they are being done through a glass wall. But Dr Gomes, who also handled the H1N1 epidemic in Goa, believes that the healthcare system should also study the effect that personal engagement and proximity have on an infected person, and connecting this effect to how the trajectory of any disease is shifted.
He further said that these patients were dealing with COVID-19 on their own and the sense of loneliness could have a “drastic” impact on their health.
Thus, the duties of the nurses included checking the battery in the patients’ phones, and the patients were encouraged to video call their families, friends and relatives so that they could have some relief and did not feel as scared in a foreign environment.
Dr Gomes has now trained his team of additional staff regarding this protocol and, along with the protocols to treat 80 to 100 patients at any given time and requisition of 300 ventilators, the hospital is ready to treat any new patients that might come in the convoy of sailors coming from Mumbai.