An Abu Dhabi doctor has spoken of the emotional toll of dealing with the prolonged nature of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He revealed that a mother died from the disease lying beside her teenage daughter who was also fighting the illness.
Dr Asrar Rashid, head of paediatric intensive care at NMC Healthcare, said medical workers needed to recognise the signs of burnout as the coronavirus continues to rage.
He said the emotional aspect of the crisis was hard to ignore when outside the hospital walls.
"We had a child who was in one bed and her mother died in the other bed," Dr Rashid told Imperial College London's Responsible podcast.
“We weren’t able to tell her that her mother had passed away because she was quite sick. That’s just one case – there have been others.”
Dr Rashid is from Pakistan but served in hospitals in the UK, the US and Australia before arriving in the UAE.
He is known for his charity work with Midland Doctors, a UK-based organisation that brings disaster relief and medical aid to poor nations.
Asked what made Covid-19 different from other crises, Dr Rashid said the uncertainties involved made planning difficult.
“Covid-19 is an ongoing, complex array of challenges – it’s not just one peak and trough, it’s multiple peaks and troughs,” he said.
He said medical workers needed to “protect themselves” from the physical demands of the job.
“One of the phenomena you have to be really careful of is the difficulty of burnout,” he said.
“I’ve had challenges in the past where you still remember those children – you think about what you could have done to make a difference.
“One of the mechanisms I use is that I only have a certain amount of power, I have physical abilities and capabilities to make a difference, but spiritually there are other aspects to it as well, but they are not in my power.
“It’s important to protect oneself and be in it for the long game.”