UAE nurse shares experience of treating critical COVID-19 patients

UAE nurse shares experience of treating critical COVID-19 patients

Since the onset of the pandemic, UAE's frontline heroes have been working at the forefront to protect the community members against COVID-19. One such hero is COVID-19 field hospital nurse Ramya Radhakrishnan who worked for long hours under immense emotional and physical pressure away from her family to help and treat patients infected with the disease.

In a write-up shared by the UAE's Frontline Heroes Office, Indian nurse Ramya highlighted how serving critical COVID-19 patients was the most challenging experience of her career. According to the write-up, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, her toughest professional challenge was the daily commute from her residence in Ajman to Dubai.

However, all changed in April 2020 after she was asked to work in a COVID-19 hospital in Sharjah.

“I still don’t know how to put into words how I felt that day. I was the only one from my department asked to go there and I felt all alone. I was assigned there because I used to work in India as an ICU nurse during the H1N1 outbreak, where I was sent to an isolation unit for five months,” she wrote.

Ramya highlighted that nothing could have prepared her for helping the critically ill COVID-19 patients for more than 10 hours daily amid the challenging circumstances. It was new for her even as a seasoned medical professional, she added.

She underlined her main concerns was the risk of infecting her own family while working for COVID-19 patients. The hospital helped her with hotel accommodation such that she was able to protect her children and other family members.

"I have two children - an eight-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl - but the hospital gave me hotel accommodation so that I didn’t have to go home to them. I did feel anxious going into the hospital, especially on the first day as it was a completely unfamiliar environment," she said.

During the initial surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, Ramya spent one-and-a-half months in hotel accommodation in Sharjah. She was unable to see her family during the period.

“I tried to stay distant from my kids, but it was virtually impossible for them not to hug me. So, I only spoke to my kids on video calls. My husband was also very supportive; he took leave from work to look after the children and after that we had to rely on family members and friends," the nurse added in the write-up.

She also shared the experience of working with new medical equipment and colleagues whom she had never met before. All professionals were required to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) for 12 hours. She admitted that it was a tough experience.

“But the situation demanded that we cope and teamwork was paramount; we all supported each other to focus on the job at hand," Ramya said.

With physical discomfort, the profession brought unexpected emotional toll on several frontline workers. Amidst so many patients to care for, people still lost the battle to the disease, despite the valiant efforts and hard work by Ramya and her team of medical professionals.

“This was the searing part of the experience, watching otherwise healthy young people – some in their 30s and 40s – going into full organ failure, and there was little we could do for them," she said.

Patients recovering from COVID-19 also provided significant upliftment for the spirit of frontline workers. According to Ramya, recoveries served as a strong motivation for her to keep going in the efforts. Families also expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the workers for their medical care and consistent efforts.

In conclusion, she hailed the proactive response and measures adopted by the UAE government for people of all nationalities living in the country.

“I am from another country and I worked with patients of many different nationalities, all of whom received the best quality of care, free of charge. It is thanks to the government’s efforts that we made progress against the virus," Ramya underscored.

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