To help Madhya Pradesh in its fight against the coronavirus, a doctor with a private hospital here has come up with a simple yet ingenious way to keep doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers safe from COVID-19 -an air bubble. The fully sealed, transparent, face covering - like a face suit - has an independent supply of virus-free compressed air so state's Corona Warriors can breathe safely while treating patients.
Cardiologist Dr Skand Trivedi said this concept was specifically introduced for healthcare workers who look after coronavirus patients and was aimed at saving lives of doctors, nurses and technicians as they were the only solace for coronavirus patients.
"COVID-19 basically spreads by breathing contaminated air. If our health workers are going to inhale the same air as is exhaled by the patients they are going to be in trouble. So, this way I can ensure my staff is safe while working with patients for 8 hours," he said.
"We have lost some of our colleagues. I'd be happy if this model was replicated by other Covid facilities as doctors and healthcare workers were not only getting COVID-19, but even dying because of it. This air bubble can be the biggest tribute to all Corona Warriors," Dr Trivedi said.
The air bubble offers hope that even though coronavirus cases are rising in Bhopal, where almost 85 per cent Covid beds are occupied, our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, even though limited in number, will be able to safely help the state tide over the worst of the epidemic.
The COVID-19 tally in the state capital went up to 6,490 after 223 people tested positive, including seven doctors. So far, nearly half a dozen doctors have succumbed to coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh.
The cardiologist said his staff has been doing their rounds with the air bubble for the last couple of days and they are quite comfortable.
"I feel much safer, we are not worried," said Dolly, a nurse at the ICU. Neeraj Mewada, a technician in the Covid ward, also said he was comfortable wearing the air bubble.
Healthcare workers posted in COVID-19 wards across the country have reported suffocation and dehydration, among other problems, while working long hours in PPE kits. The protective gear, once worn to enter a coronavirus ward cannot be taken off till the shift lasts. Healthcare workers risk getting the virus if they take off their PPE kits to even drink water or urinate.
Though most air bubbles in this hospital are connect by air tubes to a big compressor kept 200 feet away from the building, some air bubbles are portable.
"We even have a portable version so doctors can do their daily rounds, meet patients and interact with ease," Dr Trivedi said.