Sometimes, it happens that the sheer determination of the patient to live along with the grit and mettle shown by the concerned team of doctors helps defeat death in circumstances where many just give up.
Such a case was reported from Sterling Hospital – Vadodara, where a 31 year female and mother of two, Bhavikaben Patel was presented on 26th August 2017 with a history of high grade fever, cough, throat pain, and breathlessness. She also had a fall in her oxygen level in the blood. After investigations, she was diagnosed with bilateral extensive Swine Flu (H1N1) pneumonia.
Under the able leadership of Dr. Ritesh J Shah – Senior Consultant – Critical Care Medicine, treatment was started by initially keeping her on ventilator support. This machine helps maintain the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood by providing pressurised oxygen through artificial means to the lungs. But this procedure depends upon the lungs to work well enough to push that oxygen into the blood.
In spite of ventilator support, the patient was not able to maintain enough oxygen level. Hence, the concerned team of doctors – Dr Ritesh Shah, Dr Sonia Dalal – Pulmonologist and Dr Tejas Patel – Critical Care Specialist, decided to keep patient on an Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenator (ECMO). Here, Extra Corporeal means outside the body, while Membrane Oxygenator means a device where artificial oxygenation is carried out by means of a membrane.
This is a very complex machine which takes the blood out from the body through tubing, enriches the blood with oxygen, removes carbon dioxide and the oxygen-enriched blood is pushed back into the body. This procedure requires very close monitoring and vigilance.
The patient was weaned off from the ECMO on the 32nd day. Later, the patient was weaned off from the ventilator on the 56th day. She was rehabilitated under guidance of Dr Chirag Pandya – Chief Physiotherapist and the patient was discharged home walking on New Year day. There were many clinical, emotional and social ups and downs, but the team of doctors and even the patient’s family stood rock-steady and helped the patient to ultimately defeat the death.
Tarun, husband of the patient said “I am extremely thankful to the medical team and staff of Sterling Hospital – Vadodara for saving my wife’s life. We face many turbulent emotional moments, but with the help and support of the medical experts, the best of technology, and the grace of the Almighty, my wife is alright now.”