Kumkum Bhagya fame Dr Ashish Gokhale talks about balancing his TV shoots and medical practice, ‘It is mentally and physically exhausting’

Ashish Gokhale is a familiar face for the Indian audience, his roles in daily soaps like Kumkum Bhagya and Tara from Satara have earned him appraisal for his acting skills but his service as an on-call doctor for COVID-19 duty is what is garnering him attention now.

Ashish Gokhale is a familiar face for the Indian audience, his roles in daily soaps like Kumkum Bhagya and Tara from Satara have earned him appraisal for his acting skills but his service as an on-call doctor for COVID-19 duty is what is garnering him attention now. Dr Gokhale shares his experience as a frontline worker in the Coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Business Upturn.

“I am a trained professional and it is in times like these that one needs to step up and put those skills to use. It is my responsibility as a doctor right now to take care of patients right now otherwise I won’t be a doctor,” he said about his decision to work 12-hour shifts risking his own safety. When asked about the physical and mental strain that medical personnel face he said that it is indeed very exhausting to work long shifts in PPEs, especially without breaks, “the schedule is so tight that we can’t even take a washroom break or lunch break sometimes. Being fully covered in PPEs for 12 or 24 hours straight is very exhausting both mentally and physically.” 

The healthcare system is overburdened and there seems to be no respite from Coronavirus in the near future and the pressure this mounts on healthcare workers is immense. Most of them have been working tirelessly without going to their homes for days at a stretch. “We are all really tired by the end of the day, not just doctors but all hospital staff including assistants, cleaning staff. One or two doctors and nurses take care of numerous patients at the same time. We can’t go home many of the times, even I only started going home regularly after the first week of August,” he said. The panic in people’s minds created by the virus is also creating difficulties and to that, he said that even if someone tests positive for the virus they can get treated, the mortality rate in India is significantly less. 

Prior to working full-time Dr Gokhale was also engaged in raising awareness in nearby slum areas about basic hygiene like washing hands. He has also been distributing soaps and food packets since the pandemic started. “I went to those slums because there is a lack of awareness about basic hygiene which would only increase the transmission of the virus and I tried to help in my own capacity,” he said. 

He has been working 24×7 now as his shoots have also resumed. “It is very different now, we shoot for 3 days in a week, alternate days and the number of people on the set is also almost half now. Everybody is taking precautions, make-up man is doing makeup in PPE, there is no spot boy, it is difficult but we have to manage.” He has some interesting projects coming out in a few weeks. 

With the nation in the process of unlocking he advised that the threat of Coronavirus is not over and people need to take precautions like gargling twice a day with salt water and taking steam. “Even though unlocking process is happening we have to take all the precautions. Sometimes we see people spitting in public and not maintaining social distance, all these things only lead to more transmission. Gradually people can go out but should be careful.”

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