Hyderabad, TELANGANA — If the world had not been in the throes of a pandemic, Dr. S Nagarjuna would have been married to his college sweetheart on April 8. Instead, the neurosurgeon spent the day walking down the aisle of a Covid-19 ward, dressed in a protective suit to treat 30 patients, on a 12-hour long shift in Hyderabad’s Gandhi hospital, Telangana’s Covid-19 quarantine, isolation, and treatment facility.
His fiancée, A. N. Priyanka, a pharmacologist based in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh made just one video call to him on the day to wish him well. Dr. Nagarjuna’s elderly parents, who were expected to welcome over 2,000 guests at his wedding for which a marriage hall was booked in Hyderabad, reluctantly remained in their hometown in Nagarkurnool district, Telangana; worried for their only son who had turned 30-years on March 30. Telangana had recorded 414 active cases as on April 10.
While India’s 21-day lockdown has brought daily life to a grinding halt, Dr. Nagarjuna and his fellow doctors have been working feverishly in monk-like isolation: Hundreds of doctors at Gandhi hospital, Dr. Nagarjuna included, have moved into campus hostels meant for postgraduate students to ensure they don’t infect their families back home.
A peek into the long shifts pulled by doctors living inside the isolation facility reveals the exhaustion, fears and heroism of healthcare workers across the country as they struggle to contain the pandemic.
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One day at a time
Dr. Nagarjuna wakes each day to worried calls from his parents who are in their...