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Monday, August 02, 2021

Kolkata techie in critical condition after contracting Covid-19 in Colombia

The 35-year-old’s condition quickly deteriorated and he has been in a coma for the last two weeks. He remains on a ventilator though his state has worsened recently and exceptional treatments have been sought to save his life.

Columbia |
Updated: June 14, 2021 8:40:29 pm
Kaushik Saha (left); His condition quickly deteriorated and he has been in a coma for the last two weeks.

Written by Arjun Harindranath

Kaushik Saha, a TCS employee from Kolkata, is left fighting for his life in a Colombian hospital after contracting COVID-19 in Medellin, the country’s second-largest city. Although based in Chile with his Colombian wife Luz Zuleta, the pair had been visiting family in Colombia when Saha contracted the virus.

The 35-year-old’s condition quickly deteriorated and he has been in a coma for the last two weeks. He remains on a ventilator though his state has worsened recently and exceptional treatments have been sought to save his life.

Both his wife and brother, Dr Saumik Saha of Kolkata, are now aiming to secure an ECMO in the hope that he can make a recovery.

In short supply in many countries around the world as a result of the pandemic, ECMO draws blood from the body before oxygenating it and returning it to the patient. Dr Saha believes the machine could make the difference for his brother given his young age and the fact that his other vital organs remain in good shape.

“At the moment we’re depending on my brother to fight the virus,” Dr Saha told indianexpress.com, “With ECMO, however, he has a fighting chance of making a recovery.”

Although a population of just over 50 million, Colombia is ranked fifth in the world for deaths per 100,000. Despite quarantine measures in April and May, political unrest and large-scale protests across the country led to a further exponential rise in cases. On average Colombia now even outpaces the US in cases per day.

As a result, ECMOs are now in short supply as the COVID-19 crisis puts incredible strain on the country’s already fragile healthcare system. It is expected that Saha’s treatment could exceed 100 lakh rupees and the family are in talks with both TCS and the Indian Embassy in Bogotá about sourcing a machine for him.

Saha’s wife Luz is now hoping that a miracle is still possible to save her husband. The family are now doing their level best to secure an ECMO and have set up a public appeal for funds that go towards his treatment. More details of their appeal can be found here: https://www.impactguru.com/fundraiser/donate-to-kaushik-saha

Arjun Harindranath is an editor based in Columbia and an occasional contributor to indianexpress.com.

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