A senior resident doctor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi has been advised 14-day quarantine after he took off his protective gear to save a coronavirus patient who was in critical condition, PTI reported on Sunday.

The doctor, Zahid Abdul Majeed, had to remove his personal protective equipment to re-intubate the patient on Friday. The patient continues to be on ventilator support, according to The Hindu.

Around 2 am on Friday, the patient was being shifted to the Intensive Care Unit. When Majeed reached the ambulance, he had difficulty in ventilating the patient, and suspected “accidental extubation”. Majeed said he immediately decided to re-intubate. “Owing to poor visibility through the PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] inside the ambulance, I decided to remove the goggles and face shield, and then re-intubated the patient as any delay would have led to imminent death of the patient,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, intubation and the steps that lead to it are some of the high-risk events for Covid-19 to spread to healthcare workers and other patients. The WHO has strictly recommended that protocols to limit viral exposure should be followed.

Majeed told the newspaper that what he did is not an example to follow, and all healthcare professionals should use personal protective equipment. “When the transfer was happening, I realised that the patient’s tube was mal-positioned and that without immediate intervention, the patient would go into a cardiac arrest,” he added. The AIIMS doctor said that in a dim-lit ambulance, working with personal protective equipment was not a viable option so he removed the goggles and face-shield, as they were fogging up. The doctor kept his N95 mask on to perform the procedure and immediately reported the breach in PPE. “I was advised to proceed to quarantine.”

Majeed added that his father called him on Sunday and said that even if his son were to die from Covid-19, he would not grieve as he saved the life of a patient. “It felt like a weight had been lifted from my heart,” the doctor said. “My parents appreciated the spirit with which this intervention was performed.” The doctor, who is a native of Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir, said he only reacted to a fellow human being in distress.

General Secretary of AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association Srinivas Rajkumar T said that Majeed was not even able to break his Ramzan fast when he was called to shift the Covid-19 intubated patient to the ICU. He added that Majeed got exposed to the highest possible viral load just to deliver his duty.

The official said that it was important that the people of this country understand we have a common enemy in Covid-19 and have to be united against the enemy and not fight among ourselves. “Have empathy for patients, fellow workers, health care providers and every living being around you,” he said

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