A SIX-MONTH-OLD infant from Phagwara district of Punjab, who was admitted to PGIMER with a congenital heart disease, died at 1 pm on Thursday after testing positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. The girl had congenital malformations of the arterial and ventricular septal defect, which means that she had a congested heart. Due to her contracting the virus, PGIMER doctors could not perform the corrective surgery required to treat her heart disease. Hence, she passed away due to the complications caused by the viral disease and her co-morbidities.
“The patient was already weak and immunocompromised due to the condition of her heart. Then she contracted the virus and she was too critically ill to begin with. She could not fight through the infection,” said a member of the nursing staff who was treating the patient at the ICU in the dedicated COVID-19 ward at PGIMER.
The infant had also contracted bacterial infection on top of the viral infection and her severe congenital heart disease. She was on a ventilator almost throughout the course of her hospitalisation at PGIMER. “The cause of death was reported to be refractory shock, pulmonary artery, hypertension and COVID-19,” PGIMER’s official spokesperson said.
The infant was referred from a private hospital in Ludhiana to PGIMER on April 9. The patient had been in ward at the Advanced Paediatric Centre of the hospital since then and 54 members of the hospital staff, including 18 doctors, were exposed to the infant in the ward while treating her. Apart from that, four more patients along with their families were exposed to the COVID-19 positive infant. All the exposed staff has tested negative for the disease and so has the infant’s family members. All have been quarantined as a safety measure. It is unclear where the infant contracted COVID-19 from.
Universal screening of referred patients
PGIMER’s faculty association has recommended a universal screening policy for all patients referred to the hospital in order to decrease the chances of exposure of medical staff to COVID-19. In a statement released by the association on Thursday, it asked for universal screening of all patients before being admitted to PGIMER and testing at local government hospitals if needed. They also suggested that no direct referrals should be made to the hospital in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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