If you ask his professors what memories they have of Vivek, they will tell you about a shy and introverted boy who, however, loved to participate in as many extracurricular activities as possible. Even today he proudly holds dear a portfolio of all the certificates he won during his student days, with notes of merit in drawing, basketball and ping-pong. Vivek is also a trekking enthusiast and semi-professional travel photographer. His “Khanabdoshi” Instagram page is like his digital alter ego.
After school, he attended the University Course of Medicine and Surgery at the prestigious “Maulana Azad Medical College.” He later completed the specialization in Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the same college. In his professional and human curriculum, there is also a 10-month service with “Doctors Without Borders”, during which he worked in the remote health centers in the peripheries, trying to eradicate the local infectious diseases prevalent in West Bengal.
Currently, he works at the LNJP, where the Delhi government has provided him with accommodation, as he must observe strict isolation, away from family and friends, during the period of activity.
Given the nature of his service, the shifts, even if they involve a natural rotation, are quite irregular. Sometimes Vivek's shift starts at 3 am and continues until 10 am. The worst part of the job, however, is not the time schedule, but working with all the personal protective equipment on. Many healthcare professionals have fainted from heat and dehydration while wearing them. Once the kit is on, you cannot eat, drink or use the bathroom until you have properly undressed and sterilized everything. In addition, the safety goggles and visor fog up due to heat and humidity, making it even more difficult to see and act.
It is under these conditions that all healthcare professionals like Vivek take care of patients.
“Working in the ICU has, so far, been like a bag of mixed feelings, like an unpleasant roller coaster ride,” says Vivek. “There are days when unfortunate news has to be broken to several families, while on other days, the joy on the face of recovered patients is a blessing like a ray of hope. The work effort put in by the medical teams throughout the world may never truly be completely compensated.”
Despite everything, Vivek truly believes that, despite our shortcomings, humans are capable of incredible feats and he looks to the future with confidence. “These are undoubtedly difficult times. But we also have the opportunity to be the most beautiful version of ourselves. It's times like these that say how good and humane we really are… The world shall recover from the pandemic soon. The tragic loss of those who've left us shall linger for long. But hopefully, we'll make a better world with all that this pandemic has taught us.”
Fr Babu Varghese, SDB