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‘Despite being in the UK, I did telephonic conversations with 20 patients in India every day, during the pandemic’

Apeejay School Panchsheel Park alumnus Dr Divyansh Gulati recounts journey of becoming an emergency medicine consultant in the United Kingdom

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Dr. Divyansh Gulati, an alumnus of Apeejay School Panchsheel Park is an Emergency Medicine consultant in the National Health Service, United Kingdom. He works at the Milton Keynes University hospital in the Oxford deanery. In an exclusive interview, Dr. Gulati gives a sneak peek into his life in the UK, the work of an emergency medicine doctor and also recounts some of his best memories from the school years. Edited Excerpts:

Please tell us what inspired you to become a doctor?

I studied at Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park in the batch of 2005 and was heavily into sports. I was also the sports captain in class 12. I used to play volleyball and football a lot those days. The inspiration to become a doctor came with my father’s desire. My father Mr. Pradeep Gulati is the biggest inspiration in my life. He passed away during the first year of my graduation. He worked in a pharmaceutical company and always wanted his sons to become doctors. My elder brother Dr. Karan Gulati was already in the process of becoming a dentist back then. He is also an Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park alumnus by the way. So, both my father and my brother were the guiding forces of my life who aligned me professionally with the medical fraternity.

Tell us a bit about your current work profile?

Well, I moved to the UK in the month of April in 2016. I joined as a registrar in emergency medicine at Oxford University Hospital. It is one of the most premium institutions in the world.  Our prime role in emergency medicine is the resuscitation of the critically ill. We identify and prioritise the sickest patients. We identify the clinical risks around the patients. We work more as a team with the doctors and the nurses in the emergency department of the hospital. Working in an emergency department is no one man show, it requires a lot of team work. On a daily basis I work over a period of 7-8 hours with approximately 25-30 doctors and 40 nurses in the emergency department.

The common group of patients we see are ones with cases of heart aches, strokes, road accidents, severe pain in the abdomen, broken bones and dislocated joints. We cater to both adults and children.

What are some of your best memories from Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park?

One of my favourite memories is from the time when every second or fourth Saturday we used to have a parent- teachers meeting (PTM) at school. As I mentioned, my elder brother is from the same school. He was always a gentleman, extremely introverted and hard working as a student. When my mother would attend the PTM, she always used to hear two different stories. One consisted of all the praise for my elder brother while the latter included scolding for my mischiefs. Actually the same teachers had also taught my brother. They would always say that we were two opposite poles. When I look back, now I laugh a lot on those memories.

I was actively involved in sports. Mr. Ajit Singh used to be our sports teacher in those days. We used to play a lot of volleyball with him. Those are my favourite memories from school.

Now, we’ve been waiting to hear about how life is in the UK? Please tell us a bit about it?

So, after completing my post-graduation in emergency medicine, I gave exams to be a member of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. Upon clearing it, I got registered to work in the UK. Then I moved to Oxford University Hospital in April 2016.

My aim to move to the UK was driven by the desire to learn more in-depth about emergency medicine for it is still a growing branch in India, while it is well-established in the United Kingdom.  I have been living here for the past five years now.

Life in the UK is challenging but it gives a perfect personal and professional life balance.  I work four days a week (sometimes five) and I get the time to get involved in sports and other co-curricular activities such as running or cycling.

So far, I have been to Manchester, Bath, Warwick and Scotland. I was lucky enough to go to the mecca of cricket, Lord’s. I was able to see India Vs England matches live there. In football, I support Liverpool. I was able to go to a couple of Premier League matches at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton.

Actually, since I moved to the UK, I got more involved in cricket. I heavily follow the game and play it as well. I play with a club here in Milton Keynes, called MK Stallions. 

Time now for the iconic British question, how is the weather in the United Kingdom?

The weather is diverse (laughs). The summer starts here around the end of April or the first week of May and lasts till the mid-week of September. Days are longer in summers, one gets to see the sun till 10PM in the night. You can enjoy a lot in the summers. The winters are gloomier and rainy as well.

 How has Apeejay School, Panchsheel park helped you to pursue your passion in life?

As students we are all clean slates, we need to be moulded in the right way so that we choose the right path. Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, laid the right foundations for me to become a doctor. The school guided all us students, in the right direction, by providing us the right education, environment and a good balance of extra-curricular and education activities.

What is the one life lesson you would give to a medical student?

The biggest advice I think is that there is no shortcut to hard work. The stroke of luck only favours the one who is doing the hard work. At some point of life, you have to put in the hard work.

 As a doctor, please tell us your experience during the pandemic?

Life has changed for everyone on a personal and professional level since March 2020. From a professional perspective, as a doctor in the UK it was very hard and challenging for me. This was a disease which was then unknown to many. Wearing PPE for long hours, seeing young patients struggling to breathe is not a good sight for anyone. I was one of the lead consultants who was managing the Covid planning for my hospital. It was then that I realised how important team effort is. Everyone came together to manage this pandemic, which was essential in fighting against this disease.

Despite being in the UK, I speak to my mother every day. My mother Mrs. Kusum Gulati runs a chemist shop in Delhi. She is my pillar of strength. She told me about how patients were suffering here in India. I along with one of my non-medical friends from Delhi Mr. Nikhil Dhamija, decided to help people by doing free telephonic conversations every day. We advertised the same on social media.  He used to make a list of people. He organised the phone-calls. I spoke to roughly 20-25 people every day for about 50 days during the second Covid wave in India. Later, we stopped the exercise as the cases declined.

Arijit Roy is a young correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. He has done his masters in English literature from Delhi University and has a book of poems published by Writers Workshop India. He can be reached at [email protected]

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