Frontline Corona Warriors - Story of an ICU Technician

By Jyothi Ganta

“Since there isn't any vaccine found for COVID 19 yet, we need to take care of ourselves by strictly following the precautions. This is the only medicine to keep us safe from the coronavirus," said Kiran Shirwadkar.

Kiran Shirwadkar (31) is a Intensive Care Unit (ICU) technician at Bridge Candy Hospital Mumbai since last 11 years.

As he shared, initially when the syptomatic patients of COVID 19 started coming to the hospital, he used to get afraid of the situation but gradually the fear went away as it became a regular thing.

“Whatever happens, we have to handle them no matter what” Kiran said.

His works for 3 straight days then is given leave for 4 days. Hospital has provided a separate room for the staff to stay during the work days and also arranged a bus for them to travel home for the leave period.

When the 3 days of duty is over, he has to take bath at the hospital itself and then sanitize before leaving for his home at Ghatkopar. After reaching home, without touching anything he directly goes to take bath once again and washes his clothes as it may contain virus.

Hospital staff is required to wear PPE kit. All the equipments are provided by the hospital, including masks, gloves and goggles. Kiran says, wearing PPE makes him difficult to work. When put on mask and goggles, it makes the vision blur due to the fogging up of the goggles from his breath.

When a COVID patient is kept on a ventilator setting, Kiran has to be present in the room with the patient, which increaes his chances to get infected. His work requires changeing of the mouth filters of patients, clean the machines and provide equipments to the doctors whenever needed.

About the hospital he said, “Our hospital system is very good, there is no pressure from the Doctors, food is provided on time. The hospital is giving us all facilities so that we can do our work well."

Till now, Kiran has seen nearly 70 to 80 COVID patients which includes the hospital staff and doctors as well, who got infected after coming into contact with other patients.

Seeing the risk involved in his work, he sent his wife and daughter to the village to insure their safety.

When asked him about his daughter, whether he want her take a office job or to become a doctor handling such difficult situations, he said, “It is her life and It is her choice to decide what she wants to be, but if she chooses to be a doctor, I'll definitely support her to become a doctor who saves lives."

When asked about media praising doctors and nurses only, he said “Ofcourse they should be praised for their efforts they’re taking, but there are people like ward boys, cleaners and other hospital staff need to be cheered as well. They’re also working day and night to protect people from this deadly virus. But I am not complaining. The doctors in our hospital appreciate us, motivate us. Government also raised our salary by 20% as promised, a is very good step indeed” he said.

Talking about people clapping and banging plates during the task given by prime minister Narendra Modi to appreciate the work of hospital staff, he said “I didn’t got the time to see anything of it as I was working at that time."

He expressd about the problems in work during suvh difficult times. He said, “The main problem is the society, which looks at people who work in hospital as if they are infected with virus, talk hatefully behind their backs, they shouldn’t do that.”

People like Kiran are working day and night, staying away from family, risking own life to save the people they don’t even know. For them all we can do is respect their work and cooperate.

Jyothi Ganta is an Intern with The Colourboard,

She is currently persuing her Bachelors in Mass Media.

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