Kochi: When Dr Mary Anitha took up the role of a mother for six-month-old Elwin for a month's time, she never thought that giving him up would leave her in tears.
The doctor, who entered into quarantine to take care of the child, handed the infant back to its parents Eldose and Sheena soon after they recovered from the COVID-19.
“I am extremely happy to have completed a divine task. For one month, Elwin and I were all alone,” said the doctor.
When his parents received Elwin, Dr Mary’s children Nimrod, Manase and Moushmi Isabel felt that they were handing over their youngest brother.
Sheena and Eldose, belonging to Perumbavoor, worked as nurses at a hospital in Haryana when they tested positive for COVID-19. However, young Elwin was negative and Dr Mary showed the big heart to go into quarantine with the infant.
She found an apartment to spend one month with Elwin. During this period, all of the doctor’s schedules changed. She ceased watching television and spent all the time with the toddler. “Children are a gift of God. It was this thought that made me accept the responsibility of looking after Elwin,” said the doctor.
COVID-19 was first detected in Elwin’s father during hospital duty. When he was admitted to hospital, Sheena travelled to Kerala along with the child, who suffers from a congenital kidney ailment. On reaching their native place, Sheena went into quarantine but tested positive for the disease. But Elwin was negative.
The family faced a dilemma as they could not leave the infant with the elderly parents of Eldose at Perumbavoor who suffered from various ailments. Moreover, things would get complicated if Elwin too became positive. Sheena could not also take the child to the ward for COVID-19 positive patients.
So, the Medical College Hospital authorities launched a search for a person who could look after the infant still being breastfed. They contacted the Child Welfare Committee and finally identified Dr Mary, who has been running Centre for Empowerment and Enrichment, an organization for differently abled children for the last 12 years. The doctor was also the nodal officer of ‘Jyothi’, a project under the Ernakulam district administration for such children.
When Dr Mary accepted the task, her advocate husband and three children extended their whole-hearted support. The doctor entered quarantine with Elwin on June 15. “I felt I was once more a mother and gave him my full attention,” she said.
Elwin’s second test was negative but the infant could not be united with his parents until they recovered from the disease.
Later, when she handed Elwin back to his parents, the doctor felt deep distress.
“Elwin was unhappy. He was not showing happiness despite being in the company of his parents. My children suggested that we meet him, but I dissuaded them and told them that Elwin should be with his parents. We can visit him after he is happy with his parents,” said Dr Mary.