Dr Deepak Shokeen- from a doctor to a social entrepreneur
In early March this year, 25-year-old Dr Deepak Shokeen was waiting for the pandemic to end so that he could restart the admission process for his MD. Three months later, he has decided to do something that he always wanted to do, set up a non-profit hospital in Gurugram to ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare.
“The last two months have altered the course of my life. The only thing that matters is how many lives can we save if there is ever going to be third wave of the COVID pandemic,” he said. Deepak has been socially active since childhood and commitment to service inspired him to take up a career in medicine.
He wanted to help, and the second wave gave him the reason and opportunity to act. “I learned Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda had started helping people in distress during the pandemic and I joined Team Deepender and soon I started getting calls for help,” he said.
The last two months have been emotionally very disturbing and rewarding. “When you are a doctor and treating a patient, you are dealing with it professionally but when you are a volunteer, you have a different perspective. A doctor does his job to the best of his ability but as a volunteer, you have little control but get emotionally invested,” he explains.
Narrating a case, he says people reach out in hope that you would be able to provide some help. “Imagine that you get a distress call from a son who has a mother who needs to go through dialysis, but the medical system is so overwhelmed that it cannot take a non-COVID patient. “I reached out to my friends, seniors and other doctors that I knew and after hours of effort, we were able to help them get a hospital. She went through dialysis and managed to get out of a life-threating situation. The son called back and was crying and thanking us for the help,” he said.
Helping others brings emotional rewards but there have also been occasions where we have not been able to save patients because either the medicine, they were seeking was not available or they had come to us too late. For me, these 40-odd days have been life changing,” he stated.
Deepak says the pandemic has made the entire medical fraternity more aware of their responsibilities towards society and humanity. “People have been working for days non-stop and though doctors tend to stop themselves from getting too emotionally engaged in a situation but all my friends say that every death does weigh on them. There has been large number of people who have died in their 30s, leaving behind little children and these things impact everyone,” he added.
He now wants to take this work forward and plans to open a not-for-profit hospital for the economically underprivileged. “We are blessed to have the opportunities because of our families gave us good education but there are many who are remain entrapped in poverty. They come to cities in search of a better life but are always living on the margins. “Our biggest job is to provide quality healthcare to these people with the lowest out-of-pocket expenses,” he said.