Celebrating Our Social Workers
April 2, 2023 | Contributed by Preeti Kumar
“Be the beacon of Light in Someone’s Darkness” – Randi G Fine
Sadhna, social worker at Jupiter Hospital, Pune interacting with a family
Imagine a situation where you are thrown into a world which is very different from what you thought, imagine that you do not understand what is being said to you in that world, imagine not knowing what it will take to get out of the world. There is no one you understand, your mind is in a state of turmoil and confusion.
Suddenly there emerges this one person who looks at you, empathises with you, takes your hand and explains the dynamics of the world you have come into, talks to you step-by step about what you can do to get out of this world and then helps you travel that path.
For our families whose children get diagnosed with a heart disease in children – the social workers are that one person – that beacon of light. The social workers are a critical part of the ecosystem that works together to ensure that a child in need of a treatment gets the best possible help.
In the big picture when we hear of a child who has been successfully treated of a critical heart defect, we tend to only think of the child, the family and the treating team of doctors who have done the spectacular job in fixing the child’s heart. But behind the scenes are these critical members of the ecosystem without whom the child would not have come this far.
Rachita Kohli, our social worker at Paras Hospitals, Gurugram with a baby
Social workers are the binding thread between the team of doctors and nurses, the children who have been diagnosed with a heart defect, their families and a child heart foundation like ours. A social worker starts by understanding the condition that the child is presenting. They connect the family to the doctor who explains the condition, what needs to be done and the prognosis for the child. Where the family struggles to understand the details, the social worker steps in and plugs those gaps. However, the key areas where the social workers weave their magic are in giving emotional and financial support. The treatment for heart disease in children varies with the type of defect and can be in the range for Rs 1-5 lakhs. For families that earn only Rs 20,000 or lesser a month this is a huge amount. When these families are told about the cost of the treatment they are thrown into a turmoil. While they would do anything to organise the funds, they many a times are helpless and unable to do so. It is here that these social workers help by ensuring that their child will get the treatment even if they cannot afford the same. The social workers connect the families to a child heart foundation like ours or other donors who then pick up the cost of the treatment and every family is given the chance to save their child.
Mr Pawar, a social worker at Rainbow Hospital, Hyderabad, interacting with the family
Agreeing to let your child go through an intervention is extremely tough. Many of our families do not understand the details of the procedure but have laid their faith on the doctor. But they are worried and nervous about what will happen to their child, if whether the steps they are taking are the right ones. And it is here the social workers patiently explain to the families and parents and tell them that all will be fine.
Sadhna, one of the social workers at our partner hospital at Jupiter Hospitals Pune, says that “the pre and post operative stages are the most difficult stages to get through as this is the time that parents are the most emotional with regard to their kids.” She also beautifully mentions that “this year the team at Jupiter Hospitals was able to save 500 children” and this was a big moment for her.
“Becoming a pediatric cardiologist was my destiny.” Dr Neeraj Awasthy
For all the social workers the common thread that inspires them to do what they do is to see little children get better and leave the hospital with a healed heart. Rachita Kohli, the social worker at Paras Hospital says that “the biggest triumph for me and my team is to discharge the children successfully after they have been treated for the problem. The satisfaction and the relief that the parents experience on discharge always encourages me to go keep ging on.”
We salute these silent heroes who are always fighting in the background, their names will never come up when a critical surgery goes through. But they are the real angels who are walking with the families to make sure that they remain on the path and that the little soul who has come to them goes through the treatment, that the little heart gets healed. We salute, honour and celebrate our social workers – the beacons of light without whom many lives would not have been saved.