Ritika Jankar’s parents were asked to keep praying for a miracle. An engineering student from Wakad, Jankar was diagnosed with sepsis and multi-organ failure. After a 53-day stay in the ICU, during which she was administered 98,756 ml of IV fluids — on artificial ventilation for 946 hours and on dialysis support for another 256 hours — she fought the infection, and celebrated her 18th birthday before being discharged.
“We were really not sure if she would pull through, but she did,” said Dr Kapil Zirpe, head of the Neuro-Trauma Unit at Ruby Hall Clinic. “Her condition was very critical on arrival. She had severe infection with kidney failure. During the first three-four days, we were not sure whether we would be able to save her. She was on artificial ventilation, her blood pressure needed to be maintained. She also had to be put on dialysis support to tackle kidney failure,” he added.
Jankar needed 37 cycles of hemodialysis and her heart was poorly functioning at 30 per cent, said her mother Neelima. “Doctors were not very hopeful, but they did try to boost our morale. She was unconscious and sinking for 15 days,” she added.
A first-year engineering student at Marathwada Mitra Mandal College of Engineering, Jankar said, “I have had a healthy life, with no major sickness, till I was diagnosed with sepsis,” she said.
Zirpe, president of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, said sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Doctors said the risk of death from sepsis is as high as 30 per cent — from severe sepsis as high as 50 per cent and from septic shock as high as 80 per cent.
The number of cases is unknown as there is little data, he added.
About Jankar, Zirpe said she never lost her smile during the 53-day ICU stay. “…we were also praying for her speedy recovery,” said Zirpe. On June 7, the ICU team had organised a surprise birthday celebration for Jankar.
“ICU doctors always have an unseen bonding with their patients… we decided to celebrate the birthday of this courageous girl and the entire ICU unit was involved in the preparations…,” he added. Jankar said this was the best birthday she had ever celebrated.