Mumbai hospital doctor honoured for her work by Maharashtra state dies of Covid-19 complications

MUMBAI (NYTIMES) - When Dr Manisha Jadhav's mother died, she struggled to cope with her grief. Her husband encouraged her to join a karaoke singing class as a distraction, and soon she was posting videos of her performances on social media.

"She bought two karaoke sets, for each one of us," her husband, Dr Navnath Jadhav, said. "And in no time, I was singing with her too."

Dr Manisha Jadhav, the chief medical officer at the Group of Tuberculosis Hospitals in Mumbai, found other outlets for her enthusiasm.

After she became interested in photography last year, her husband, a pathologist, said, she took a course, watched experts explain their craft on YouTube, went on picture-taking tours and filled notebooks with observations on camera angles, focus, exposure and lighting. She also gave her husband a camera so he could share her interest.

Dr Jadhav died April 19 in a Mumbai city hospital. She was 51. The cause was complications of Covid-19, her husband said.

Her approach to her hobbies was a reflection of her dedication to her job, which involved managing the hospital's staff and handling operations.

When the pandemic hit Mumbai in March 2020, she quickly organised personal protective equipment for the hospital's workers amid a severe shortage, ensured that they had food, and made travel arrangements for the staff when public transport was suspended during the lockdown.

She was one of 13 doctors honoured for their efforts by the governor of Maharashtra state in December.

"Doctors are like soldiers," she would say. "They can't be unavailable."

Manisha Ramugade was born in Mumbai on May 11, 1969, to Ram and Ratan Ramugade. Her father was a postal worker, her mother a housewife. She was the youngest of four siblings.

"As a kid, she would tell us that she wanted to become a doctor, and joke about giving injections," her sister Sunita said.

Manisha studied at the Utkarsha Mandir High School in Mumbai and completed her secondary schooling at MVLU College. She was awarded a medical degree by Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in Mumbai, where she met Dr Navnath Jadhav. She also received diplomas in chest medicine and hospital administration.

She joined the Group of Tuberculosis Hospitals in 1996 as a clinician and shifted to the administration six years ago. The hospital has been at the centre of many strikes and protests, and Jadhav often found herself negotiating with the union representing the staff, persuading them not to take actions that she felt might affect patient care.

"If she convinced us to call off a protest, she would also ensure to follow up on our demands until they were met," Mr Pradeep Narkar, a senior member of the labour union, said.

On April 14, her photography class named her aspiring photographer of the year. "She attended the online ceremony, even as she was unwell," her photography teacher, Mr Vinayak Puranik, said.

Along with her husband and her sister Sunita, Dr Jadhav is survived by her son, Darshan, a medical student in Ukraine, and another sister, Anita. Her brother, Ravi, died last year.

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