India Loses its First Frontline Warrior as Covid-19 Claims an Indore Doctor


India Loses its First Frontline Warrior as Covid-19 Claims an Indore Doctor

In what could possibly be the country’s first causality among frontline workers, a 62-year-old general physician from Indore has died because of the new coronavirus.

Dr Shatrughan Panjwani had tested positive for Covid-19 four days ago. He died at the city’s Aurobindo Hospital, but it is unclear how he contracted the virus. He is survived by his wife and three sons, all of whom are in Australia.

“It appears that he had come in contact with a coronavirus patient during treatment. We are trying to trace the source of infection,” Indore’s chief medical and health officer (CMHO), Dr Praveen Jadia.

According to colleagues, Dr Panjwani was a man with a big heart. His patients mostly included people from slums and he waived off fees for those who couldn’t afford it.

Tributes poured for the doctor from all quarters, as the country mourned the death. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted, “A great man like you will never be forgotten.”

“India will remember your sacrifice,” said under secretary at MEA, Barkha Tamrakar.

Citizens’ Task Force described it as a supreme sacrifice fighting for the health of all of us.

Some questioned the state apparatus, and asked why the health minister or prime minister had not yet addressed the nation in spite of the surge in cases and deaths.

Others asked the million-dollar question: Where are the PPEs?

“We must keep demanding that those who protect us are equipped,” said one user.

Indore is one of the worst-affected cities in Madhya Pradesh with 213 COVID-19 cases and 22 deaths resulting from the contagion, according to The Economic Times.

The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the country has been a major concern, as doctors and healthcare staff in many parts of the country have had to go into quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19. At a time when we need all hands on deck, India cannot afford to shut hospitals like it had to do in Mumbai – Wockhardt and Jaslok hospitals – after medical staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Let’s just hope Dr Panjwani’s death is an eye-opener.