Barely after delivering a boy, 30-year-old Neha Dhape from Wardha district in Maharashtra got infected with swine flu (H1N1 virus) and had to be ventilated in March this year at Aditya hospital in Nagpur. Three months after the infection, Neha has now recovered.
Soon, she will be the first recipient of the government’s promised reimbursement for critically ill swine flu patients in the state.
From January 1 till July 19 this year, there have been 550 deaths in the state due to swine flu, a majority of them in Pune and Nagpur districts.
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A total of 5,392 people had tested positive for the H1N1 virus and the state had decided to reimburse critically ill swine flu patients who were below poverty line and were ventilated at private hospitals.
The payment would be done as per Central government’s health scheme rates. Patients who were admitted in hospitals after March 2 would be eligible for the reimbursement as per the government resolution.
There have been 119 applications from across the state to claim the reimbursement, Dr Kanchan Jagtap, joint director at the state’s health department, told The Indian Express.
With the state releasing Rs 3 crore for the purpose, health authorities have approved the case of Neha, who was bedridden for a month and event went into a coma.
“A month after contracting swine flu, I could not even move properly. It is only after two months that I can now play with my child,” says Neha.
Neha’s husband Bhushan, who runs a small hotel, said he had to borrow money from friends and even sell the family gold. “We incurred around Rs 8 lakh but all I knew is that I wanted my wife back,” Bhushan told The Indian Express from Wardha.
Dr Rajan Barokar, a critical care specialist at Nagpur’s Aditya hospital, recalled Neha’s case as a complex one. “She had delivered her first child at a hospital in Wardha. Eight days later, she was brought to our hospital on March 6 for swine flu treatment. She had acute respiratory distress syndrome, was in septic shock and unconscious,” Barokar said.
Wardha district civil surgeon Dr N B Rathod said Neha was ventilated for nearly three weeks and eventually discharged on April 15.
The state has approved her case for immediate reimbursement of Rs 5 lakh, Jagtap said.
Neha’s case hold hopes for other swine flu patients who have recovered after being ventilated at private hospitals.
Pune district civil surgeon Dr Sanjay Deshmukh said that a committee headed by the district collector has cleared 24 proposals from Pune district for claiming the reimbursement. “We have asked for Rs 48 lakh for the same,” he added.