At some point, you know there is nothing else that you can do for them. You have to just wait and watch them die. Ebola is a highly infectious disease with high mortality. The key point is not to panic.” These words came from the first and only Indian doctor, Dr Kalyani Gomathinayagam, who returned home after spending 6 weeks in Liberia helping those suffering and dying of Ebola, the dreadful disease of this decade. “I like working where there is an acute, desperate need for medical care in a vulnerable population and in emergency contexts.”
Dr Kalyani Gomathinayagam, 46, joined Medicines Sans Frontiers, or MSF, (Doctors Without Borders) after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. She has served as an emergency doctor in the Ivory Coast, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo before her stint in Liberia, from where she returned home after being quarantined for 21 days in Geneva, Switzerland. “As a volunteer registered with MSF, I was asked whether I would like to go to Liberia, one of the worst Ebola-affected countries of West Africa, and my answer was, Why Not?,” says the Madurai Medical College graduate. “When you try to do something not everybody gets to do, you take it up even after knowing the risks,” she says, adding that doctors usually find it an ethical dilemma to walk away from patients.
(Read the full story in the February Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2015)