Heroes of West Texas Spotlight: Dr. Prakash Shrestha
Dr. Prakash Shrestha: Infectious Disease Physician
Dr. Prakash Shrestha has worked for Covenant as an infectious disease physician for three years. He has worked in the U.S. for 12.
“2020 was a huge challenge for all physicians. We are used to treating patients and taking care of their problems. When covid started, people were coming to us for help, and we weren’t confident on how to treat our patients. That was professionally and personally very, very, hard to deal with. The sheer volume of patients was challenging physically but what was more challenging was people dying in front of us and not being able to help them. We are used to curing our patients, but this was different. Seeing our own colleagues getting sick, not coming to the hospital, and even losing them was difficult emotionally.
As a physician, we are trained to deal with sick people. That's what we do. We come to the hospital to take care of sick people. We are prepared to treat patients but having said that, what we saw after the pandemic started was something different. No one had ever seen anything like this. The Bird Flu, Ebola, SARS, that was on a small scale. We are trained to deal with outbreaks and even infections on a larger scale but when COVID-19 started, not only did it impact us professionally but physically and emotionally. It had a significant impact me as a physician and individual I was scared for my life and my family’s lives. There were so many unknowns. I didn’t know what would happen each day at work. When I was home, I thought, “Am I going to be symptomatic tomorrow? Should I hug my kids?” We were prepared to deal with infection, but we were not prepared for that exact situation.
The challenge of COVID-19 was so frustrating, but it motivated me. It was me who could help people. As we learned more about the disease and more about how to treat these patients, it kept us going. When the vaccine came it was like we won a whole battle. The vaccine was the only way to contain the disease locally and globally. That was very relieving and was a time when we saw light at the end of the tunnel.”