In keeping with its ethos of selfless service to the Nation, the Indian Army has created a number of COVID facilities on a war footing. The Army has mobilized its resources to set up new facilities to treat patients suffering from coronavirus, while the Indian Air Force has deployed its transport aircraft and Navy’s ships to provide logistic support to facilitate the supply of oxygen and ferrying medical equipment from foreign countries.
With a record number of new COVID-19 patients, the country is going through a real tough time. But Major Arun Gopal, a doctor from the Indian Army, is ever ready to combat this ‘invisible enemy’.
Major Arun Gopal is an alumnus of Parvati Prema Jagati Saraswati Vihar Senior Secondary School, Durgapur, Nainital (Uttarakhand). He studied from 6th to 10th class at this boarding school. With the guidance and blessings of the teachers of this school, he scored 96% in 10th board examination and secured second rank in the state that year (2006). After completing his 10th, he moved to Kota for his further education. Here he joined DAV Public School and at the same time, Allen Coaching Institute for medical entrance examination. Although he cracked the medical entrance at the first attempt and got selected for 2 private medical colleges, yet he did not join the medical college. “I belong to a middle-class family, so it was difficult for me at that moment to take admission in a private medical college”, shared Arun.
He moved to Delhi and joined Aakash Institute for a year. The following year he got selected in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, from where he completed his MBBS and joined the Indian Army. “It’s been 7 years now that I got the opportunity to serve the nation”, mentioned Arun.
After serving in Pathankot for a year, Arun got transferred to Ladakh. Life wasn’t very favorable here owing to its high altitude and extreme cold climate. “The winter months would be very tough for us. It often took us a week to reach from one place to another due to heavy snowfall”. He further adds, “The army provides adequate clothing which is required for high altitude and extreme cold”.
Apart from the climate, life gets more difficult in such places due to poor road and mobile network connectivity. For months the soldiers are not able to contact their families. While Arun was in Ladakh, his father passed away. His family kept on trying to contact him, but due to poor network he received the news hours later. “My fellow colleagues supported me a lot at that time. I reached Leh late in the evening and the next morning I had my flight. But it got canceled. The 2nd flight was also not certain if it would take off. Luckily there was a charter flight and my seniors arranged for my travel in that flight to Delhi. I reached home almost after 2 days since my father had passed away”, recalls Major Arun.
Soon after, Arun joined his duty, as “Nation Comes First” is engraved in his heart. Currently he is back in AFMC, Pune doing his MD. Last year, he was serving in the makeshift hospital set up by DRDO in Delhi to combat COVID. “I was there for a few months in Delhi, working in ICU and HDU, monitoring and treating COVID patients”, mentioned Arun. He is from the pathology branch so he was looking after the laboratory as well – collecting blood and COVID RT-PCR samples.
It is indeed a war-like situation in India now, except that the enemy is not any nation but rather an invisible virus. In India, from warplanes to warships, armed forces are being deployed to combat the catastrophic second wave of the pandemic. Besides bringing critical medical oxygen and other lifesaving equipment, Indian military has built multiple make-shift hospitals.
The requirement of doctors for the Covid task force is increasing. Starting from the doctors, nurses to paramedic staff are required in large numbers. Many of the army doctors from all parts of India are being assigned to join this task force to treat civilians. The duty hours are increasing with a growing number of patients. “Last year we used to get a break of a few days after 1 week’s duty, but this year since the situation is very hard pressed, the medical staff is not getting any break. This is also increasing fatigue amongst our men who are working in the forefront”, shared Arun.
Major Arun also refuses to take any credit to his sleeve for his selfless duty. “Most of the credit goes to the paramedic staff and nurses. Each and every patient is taken care of by them. We as doctors can only visit a patient once or twice a day. They are the ones who look after each patient all through the day”, said Arun with a smile.
The defense has always been on the forefront in relief and rescue operations during natural calamities like flood, cyclone and earthquake. And at the wake of COVID-19’s second wave, India feels safe in the hands of doctors like Major Arun Gopal.
If you are a Vidya Bharati alumni and would like to share your experiences and achievements as well, please email us your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you back