After 21 days of treatment for Covid-19 and a week of home isolation, 63-year-old Dr Shirish Chavan is back on his feet and, with four physicians, is managing a 50-bed Covid-dedicated unit at Wanless Mission Hospital at Sangli. The senior doctor, from Miraj in Sangli district, required high-flow nasal oxygen for a week at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Bharati hospital in Pune.
“It was a long and difficult journey for 21 days,” Dr Chavan told The Indian Express. He runs Dadasaheb Chavan Memorial Hospital at Miraj, and had to temporarily shut the facility after he tested positive for the novel coronavirus and the staff went into quarantine.
“I had taken hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic for five weeks. After testing positive, my son, also a doctor, decided to take me and other family members to Bharati hospital in Pune. Investigations showed that oxygen saturation levels were low, and fever and body ache were persistent. I was given five vials of remdesivir injection and tocilizumab but the cytokine storm persisted. The CT scan reports showed both lungs were affected and remdesivir was continued for another 10 days,” he said.
Dr Chavan said while his fever subsided, inflammatory markers started rising and he was de-saturating on even slight physical activities. Answering and talking was not easy, and bowel and bladder evacuation became a challenge for him, he added.
He also said the critical care team at Bharati hospital saved him and provided immense physical and moral support, but after his exhaustive experience he realised the virus was here to stay and it had to be faced one day or the other.
So, with a team of physicians, he was doing all he could to pull patients through this critical period, Dr Chavan said, adding that the aim was to send out a positive message.
At Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital, a 59-year-old consulting physician has recovered from Covid-19 after a long spell and has started attending to Covid-19 patients in the ward. The doctor preferred to remain anonymous but said even if it took a little longer in close proximity to a patient in the ward, the physician tried to counsel those who felt depressed and thought they would not recover.
“There is an increasing list of senior doctors across hospitals, who were infected and have recovered and are returning to Covid duty,” said Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of the action committee of the Indian Medical Association.
Dr Prashant Munde, city unit president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, said at Sassoon General Hospital, there were at least 35 resident doctors, who had mild to moderate symptoms, and had recovered and were back at the wards to treat Covid-19 patients.
933 doctors among 3,510 health workers infected
Across the state, a total of 3,510 healthcare personnel have been infected, out of which 2,612 have recovered. Among the infected health workers are 933 doctors, 903 nurses, and 1,674 other healthcare staff. At least 10 doctors, two nurses and 33 healthcare staff have died, said Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer.
Increasing recoveries among senior citizens
Known to be fatal for people aged above 60, and for those with co -morbid conditions, in a positive trend, there is an increasing number of such patients recovering from the viral disease. At least 3,065 patients, who recovered from Covid-19, are aged above 80 while another 345 more than than 90 years old. At least two people who recovered, one from Sangli and the other from Auranbagad, were centenarians. An analysis of 2.48 lakh recovered patients shows that more than 24,000 people are aged between 60 and 69, while more than 10,250 between 70 and 79 years.
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