• Thursday, May 19, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

A year later, nurse reflects on the toll of Covid-19

  • Published at 07:41 pm February 24th, 2021
Mary Ritchil Mridha, nurse manager of Square’s Cardiology
Mary Ritchil Mridha, nurse manager of Square’s Cardiology Operation photo Dhaka Tribune

Nurse Mary underwent treatment in the hospital for a month and was even taken to the ICU when her condition deteriorated

A month after the first Covid-19 cases were reported in Bangladesh, a patient was admitted to Square Hospital Ltd on April 19, 2020.

After undergoing a surgery and being shifted from the ICU, the patient’s health condition deteriorated and he started showing Covid-19 symptoms.

The hospital had no Covid-19 patients till then. The doctors, nurses, ward boys, and other staff of the hospital had zero experience of dealing with the virus and all were afraid of it.

Mary Ritchil Mridha, nurse manager of Square’s Cardiology Operation, took the first step and rushed the patient to the ICU of the coronavirus unit.

“I was in the general section duty when I heard that the patient’s condition has deteriorated. There was no time to delay, so without any protective measure, me and my team shifted the patient to the ICU bed,” said Mary.

From the next day, Mary and her team started serving the coronavirus unit on shift basis.

After two days, the results for the patient’s Covid-19 test came positive. Later, it was found that the patient contracted the virus from one of his attendants.

All the staff who were in contact with the patient had to undergo Covid-19 testing. Mary went back home on April 23 and remained in isolation.

On April 29, she received a phone call around 8am, saying that she tested positive for the virus and asked her to get admitted to the hospital.

Mary said: “I was worried about my daughter, husband and a 70-year-old woman who were living in the same house with me. I packed my stuff, called my husband from inside the room and asked him to wait outside the room with the other two by maintaining a safe distance from the door. 

“I went out and told them not to worry about me and that I will be back soon. I tried to remain strong but they understood that I tested positive for Covid-19.

“I cried a lot when I stepped out of the house and for me it is the most painful memory of the pandemic days,” she added. 

Within a short time, she managed to collect herself and got admitted to the hospital. She underwent treatment in the hospital for a month and was even taken to the ICU when her condition deteriorated.

‘I am alive’

“After recovering, I returned back home on May 17. I embraced my child and felt wonderful that I am alive, my family is alive,” Mary expressed her emotions.

She resumed her duty and started working on the 14-day shift. The hospital made special arrangements for the staff to stay 14 days in the hospital and go back home for the next 14 days only if they tested negative.

“While performing the duty with my team, I only think that we are fighting a war. I will give my last effort to save people as well as our lives. To protect ourselves we must maintain proper safety at all times and provide the best service to others,” said Mary. 

“We felt like we were boiling inside the PPE, we got rashes in our hand, were  drenched in sweat and could not go to toilets for hours but still we did not get off duty for even a minute,” she added.  

Mary said: “I saw how cruel death can be. Children of rich and famous people did not come to visit them when they were admitted in the hospital. Some did not even come to visit their parents for the last time when the bodies got packed.

“People were more afraid of not having their close ones beside them, rather than fearing death itself. All of us on our team tried our best to provide service as well as company to them so that they did not feel lonely,” she added.

Mary’s life has been a bit normal for the past few months. Like before, she wakes up around 4-5am, makes breakfast, goes to the office, comes back home in the afternoon, takes a shower and enjoys dinner with her family.

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