Covid hosp docs save corona-hit woman from the brink

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Covid hosp docs save corona-hit woman from the brink

Saturday, 23 May 2020 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR

Doctors at the SUM Covid Hospital here had to walk on the razor’s edge to turn around a patient afflicted with severe category Covid-19 and suffering from a serious underlying disease at the same time.

The 40-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 at another hospital, was transferred to the SUM Covid Hospital with multiple health issues including breathlessness, fast heartbeat, high respiratory rate, low blood pressure and high temperature, SUM Covid Hospital Chief Nodal Officer Dr Rajesh Lenka said.

But experienced doctors, nurses and paramedics at the hospital fought hard to first stabilise her in the ICU bringing her back from the brink, Dr Lenka said.

“Initially, we diagnosed her with Covid pneumonia and she slowly responded to treatment, but subsequently she was found to be suffering from a serious underlying disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), also known as Lupus,” the hospital’s clinical head Dr Samir Sahu said.

The patient had been suffering from lupus for around three years and visited several hospitals, but the disease had gone undiagnosed.

The patient had hypothyroid issue and had been suffering from fever for three months. She also complained of joint pain, loss of hair, tightening of skin and red patches on her face, said Dr Pradeepta Shekhar Patro, rheumatologist and clinical immunologist of SUM Hospital.

Even as she was being treated in the ICU, investigations continued to determine her underlying medical condition, Dr Patro said adding that since both Covid-19 and lupus had similar lab parameters, it was difficult to ascertain her condition.

“We made her primary diagnosis that she was suffering from lupus as well. The problem that arose thereafter was that we could not administer her steroids or immuno suppressants as it could delay the viral clearance,” he said.

Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue, he explained.

“We had to balance the two treatments; and it was almost like a walk on the razor’s edge,” Dr Patro said.

The patient completely recovered after 12 days of sustained treatment when she tested negative for Covid-19 and her platelet count increased from 40,000 to 1,20,000. She was discharged from the hospital subsequently, he said.   

The team of doctors had also successfully treated an 85-year-old woman and a 60-year-old diabetic, both infected by Covid-19, helping them recover.

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