A doctor at a Goa hospital for COVID-19 treatment has been giving a warm send-off to recovered patients by hugging them to send across a message to the society to accept these people and not ostracise them.
Dr Edwin Gomes, the Goa Medical Colleges medicine department head who led a team of doctors at the Margao-based ESI hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, has hugged almost 190 patients at the time of their discharge in the last three months.
Back home after 98 days of duty at the hospital, Gomes said, "I hug all the patients when they are discharged after testing negative."
The doctor said this is his way of sending across a message to everybody to not reject these patients, whom he termed as "COVID angels".
"Their plasma can be used to treat other COVID-19 patients as they have the antibodies," he said, adding that the recovered patients are the best persons to share their health experience with others.
On his experience of treating coronavirus cases, Gomes said there is a symptom called 'shortness of breath'.
"If one misses that and goes into the breathlessness phase, then it becomes difficult to save the person. One must seek medical help when there is shortness of breath, which these people (recovered patients) know, he explained.
He also lauded a patient, who after recovering from the infection helped other patients in the hospital.
"After recovering, this patient from Mangor Hill (a COVID-19 hotspot in Vasco town of Goa) helped other patients by feeding them, putting the bed pan. He was like a nurse. If some patient had a query, he would answer, he said.
Gomes said such kind of people could be roped in to work at the COVID care centres set up by the state government.
The doctor also said that many COVID-19 patients who came to the hospital from Mangor Hill area were in a bad health condition.
"At least 25 per cent of the patients from Mangor Hill have got a second life," he added.