In a shocking incident, a final-year senior resident doctor working in the paediatric department of Delhi's Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, died of a cardiac arrest while on duty, on Wednesday, 4 January.
The deceased, Dr Sahil Mashal, was in his early 30s.
According to resident doctors at the hospital, Dr Mashal had gone on rounds to check on a child who was scheduled for an operation when he suddenly experienced chest pain and collapsed.
"He was given Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and emergency drugs, but he couldn't be revived," Dr Sarvesh Panday, general secretary of Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), and vice president of Resident Doctor's Association (RDA) RML told FIT.
'Healthy and Happy': Residents Remember Him
A native of Pathankot, Residents at the hospital told FIT that Dr Sahil had done his MBBS, and MD from Amritsar before he joined RML Hospital in 2020.
"He just got married last year," says Dr Sarvesh Panday who organised a memorial service for Dr Mashal in the hospital on 5 January.
"He was so young, and as such he had no history of heart conditions," he adds.
"He even played table tennis at the hostel about 4 hours before his death. He seemed absolutely fine. He was fit. He had no particular health issues."Dr Sarvesh Panday, Vice President of Resident Doctor's Association (RDA), RML
"We had a good relation with him. I still can't believe that he is really gone. It was so sudden," says another Senior Resident in the paediatric department at RML hospital.
Long Hours, Stress, No Rest: Life of a Resident Doctor
Speaking to FIT, Dr Manish Jangra, Chief Advisor of Federation of All India Medical Association, and former spokesperson of RDA RML says, Dr Mashal was doing his Mch in paediatrics surgery, which is a demanding, and stressful job.
Another senior resident at RML Hospital who requested anonymity told FIT, "Normally, any department should have around six to seven SRs. But here, we’re having to make do with just three to four, who are having to adjust the duties between them."
He goes on to say that the immense work load comes with high levels of stress.
"We end up doing duties continuously for 24 - 36 hours without any rest. We have so much workload that we are even cut off from our families. Especially those posted in the ICU have no rest."Resident doctor to FIT
"We don’t get leaves either. Because when one SR (Senior Resident) goes on leave for a few days, the remaining ones have to fill in for them over-and-above their own duties," he adds.
He thinks Dr Sahil’s death could be linked to chronic stress too, especially considering he was only in his early 30s with no known history of heart issues.
"Because of overworking and stress, every month, two to three SRs have been leaving. This is the situation in all departments, not just paediatrics."Anonymous
Speaking to FIT for a story last year, Dr Vishal Rastogi, Additional Director, Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute talked about how stress can indeed increase one's risk of having heart attacks, among other underlying causes, particularly in young people.
"The looks of a person can be very deceptive. We have lots of patients who are very lean and thin and lead a very active lifestyle. But if they have any of the risk factors – family history, diabetes, high blood pressure, or they are smokers – they are still at risk of having a heart attack," he explained.