747! That is the latest ‘statistic’ reporting the total number of doctors who have died due to Covid-19. Dr. Sirajuddin Ahmed; is the name of a 33-year-old doctor hailing from Ranchi has become a part of the very statistic due to the horrifying failure of the system.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Dr. Sirajuddin, a final year postgraduate student of diploma in tropical medicine at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), had been serving his duties as a doctor treating patients at the Covid Ward of the institute.
Just as he fell victim to the deadly contagion, the hospital where he helped save possibly hundreds of lives, ironically, could not provide him a bed- citing “lack of availability of beds”. Dr. Siraj was further admitted to a nearby nursing home, where his health met with further deterioration.
Despite the repeated plea of the Junior Doctors’ Association of RIMS, made to the top officials of the management, Dr. Siraj’s condition could not be salvaged. He was later shifted to Medica (the only hospital in Ranchi with an ECMO facility) but apparently, his condition was now beyond any redemption. He breathed his last on May 10, 2021. 20 days into fighting a lonely battle – Dr. Siraj’s death is now the number 748th on the Indian Medical Institution’s reports.
Dr. Siraj, a father of two young children (8 and 4 years old) and a husband to a 7-month pregnant wife was the sole bread earner in the family. With his brother Sharfuddin (a final year MBBS student at RIMS) and 65-year-old widowed mother also dependent on him, the family is struggling to pay the two hospital bills. But this is just the start.
The future of the orphaned kids, the widowed wife, the struggling brother, and a distraught mother look bleak and insecure. As the family mourns Siraj’s death, they can only wait for institutional support that hasn’t been received yet. We, unlike many others, do not wish to just ‘move on' from here and forget the sacrifice of this COVID warrior who himself lost the battle largely due to systemic apathy. We appeal to you to come forward and help the family of the deceased COVID warrior that can provide a helping hand to the grieving family.
We must step forward for this bereaved family which lost its sole breadwinner in the line of duty, to restore its faith in humanity as also to provide timely succor to secure its future financially to some extent.