With hospitals now reporting long-term complications in recovered Covid-19 patients, the Centre on Tuesday said it has started a consultative process in this regard and could likely issue guidelines based on experts’ advice.
On Monday, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria had told The Indian Express that data from recovery of patients with severe infection showed that their lungs continued to be in “bad shape”, and in some case patients continued to have neurological disorders.
On Tuesday, answering whether the government is conducting a study on long-term implications of Covid-19 being reported in the country, Rajesh Bhushan, OSD to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said the Directorate General Of Health Services, under the Health Ministry, has started a consultative exercise.
“Doctors from central government hospitals — Safdurjung, RML , and Lady Hardinge — and six AIIMS outside Delhi are providing information about complication developed by recovered Covid-19 patients. On the basis of that information, we may, in future, issue guidelines in the matter.”
In an interview to The Indian Express, Dr Guleria, one of the country’s leading experts in coronavirus response, had said: “There are people who have residual damage. People who have had a stroke (are) neuro-deficit in terms of paralysis, or some part of the body not functioning. We have also seen a number of patients who have severe pneumonia, where lungs get totally scarred. Although they come out, some of them require oxygen at home after recovery. Three months down, CT Scans have shown lungs are in bad shape.”
Dr Guleria also said that the team at AIIMS is studying whether such patients need to be put under a rehabilitation programme after their discharge from hospital.
“Some patients keep complaining of dry cough, which is due to scars in the lung. Some patients, over weeks, have complained of weakness and of not having the energy to go back to work. In some case, there are serious neurological problems,” Dr Guleria said.
Meanwhile, the Centre said on Tuesday that ICU doctors from across the country treating coronavirus are now being connected to AIIMS, Delhi, to improve clinical management of severe patients, thereby reducing fatality rate in the country. “The national fatality rate is at 2.6 per cent and is rapidly coming down. Compared to the global fatality rate it is significantly lower,” Bhushan said.
On the government’s special intervention, “now two weeks old”, he said, “Every Tuesday and Friday, the group of doctors from AIIMS, through teleconsultation and video consultation, engage with ICU doctors in various states and try to resolve problems they are facing in saving critically ill patients.”
On Tuesday, he said, hospitals from Assam, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar and West Bengal had a teleconsultation with the team of AIIMS doctors.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines