Married Cape doctors hailed for their bravery in fighting Covid-19 pandemic
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Cape Town - While many South Africans remain confined to their homes during the lockdown, a Cape Town couple are on the front line in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Siddharth Gautam, 35, from Milnerton is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Tygerberg Hospital, one of the centres for coronavirus treatment in the Western Cape. His wife, Saumya, 33, is a doctor at Mowbray Maternity Hospital.
They met in Mumbai, India, in 2011 and married a year later. They have worked in their respective fields for more than five years. Saumya’s parents and Siddharth’s father are also doctors.
Siddharth said work had been overwhelming and challenging, but also rewarding: “We as health-care workers at Tygerberg Hospital play a pivotal role in managing suspected and confirmed Covid-19 patients, thereby controlling the pandemic before the situation worsens.
Dr Saumya Gautam. Picture: Supplied
Dr Siddharth Gautam and his wife Saumya. Supplied
“These are interesting times in the medical field and for the rest of the world. I am expanding my knowledge on a disease which I have never studied or seen before in my career. This is both exciting and mind-boggling.
“I’m also anxious and fearful knowing that I could be a victim of this virus working in a high-risk environment,” he added.
Siddharth said he was nervous and terrified when screening suspected Covid-19 patients but as a doctor and health-care worker he has “a responsibility to the patients and rest of the public in this pandemic”.
Saumya, who was crowned Mrs India South Africa 2018/19, added: “Respect and adhere to the rules of national lockdown as stipulated by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“By staying indoors we can definitely curb the spread of the virus thereby preventing the country from having a similar situation to countries such as Italy, Spain, Iran and the US.”
Family and friends described the Gautams as hard-working and intelligent. Saumya’s father, cardiologist and diabetologist Ashok Kumar Tiwari, said: “Both are working hard in their hospitals. They are part of a huge medical team to combat Covid-19 so as parents it is stressful for us.”
“You never know which asymptomatic patient may be Covid-19
“We pray to God every day for his healing blessings for humanity and to keep our children and all the front line health workers safe, while managing this pandemic,” he added.
Sudhir Kumar Gautam, a family physician and Siddharth’s father, said the couple had been doing their best to serve their community and the patients.
“My wife and I proud of their courage and sincerity. We wish them all the best and to keep safe during this period,” he added.
Since the global Covid-19 outbreak, more than 60 doctors in Italy have died from the virus.
The Western Cape Health Department’s Mark van der Heever said it had guidelines on the use of equipment to further protect staff and patients against exposure.