Outside the gates of Nair Hospital, which is now a dedicated COVID-19 centre, a 30-year-old man is waiting for the day he would finally be allowed to meet his newborn son. For now, he is happy that both his son and wife are in good shape.
“At a time when I thought nobody will admit my wife for delivery, the fact that our baby is here and safe is more than enough for me,” he says. His 29-year-old wife, a COVID-19 patient, gave birth to her first born at Nair hospital late Monday.
The 29-year-old is not alone. On April 19, a 35-year-old woman, who had tested positive, gave birth to a girl at Nanavati hospital.
Mumbai has been witnessing incidents of pregnant women, infected with coronavirus, being denied hospitalisation. While BMC’s Naigaon-based maternity home was designated as a delivery centre for all such pregnant women, it had no specialisation to handle critical cases. In case of the 29-year-old, she approached 10 hospitals soon after she tested positive. Her due date was fast approaching. But all south Mumbai hospitals refused admission, stating they do not have facility to help infected women deliver.
After two days of struggle, her husband had to approach local politicians for help. She was admitted in Nair hospital on April 15 on the intervention of corporator Rais Shaikh. There, she was retested, which again came positive. On Monday night, the hospital created a special facility for her delivery. The gynaecologist and staffers wore personal protective equipment to conduct a normal delivery.
“My son has not been tested yet. Doctors said there is no need as of now,” the 30-year-old, who has a business of cycles, said. “The last few days were very tense. But I am thankful to the hospital for admitting my wife,” he added.
Nair hospital is in process of discharging all non-coronavirus patients to KEM and Sion hospitals, as it preps for converting into a COVID-19 facility.
In the second incident, as a precautionary measure, a 35-year-old pregnant woman from south Mumbai underwent a COVID-19 test although she had no symptoms. She tested positive on April 18.
She was then referred to Nanavati hospital, after two hospitals – H N Reliance hospital, where she underwent regular ante-natal check-ups, and KEM hospital – turned her away. H N Reliance hospital informed the family that it did not have a dedicated obstetrics unit for the infected. “We were informed that she needs to be shifted to some other hospital. Our doctors referred us to Nanavati hospital,” her husband said.
Dr Surushi Desai, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology department in Nanavati hospital, said a special obstetrics unit has been set up as per infection control protocol. “We kept the surgical staff number to a minimum and trained them to use personal protection equipment. Special COVID corridors were created for safe transportation of the mother and baby,” she added.
After delivery, the baby was immediately shifted to an isolation unit with intensive care. Care was taken to have minimum contact between the mother and the child. Doctors said she is allowed to feed her baby breastmilk, but should wash hands before touching the baby and wear a mask.
“This successful childbirth, amid such adverse period, has infused new energy in our hospital’s frontline COVID warriors,” said Dr Manpreet Sohal, director and COO in Nanavati hospital.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said BMC has prepared two maternity homes for all pregnant women infected with the virus.
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