Chennai, October 21, 2020: Dr Sanket Kumar Mehta, an anaesthesiologist from Surat, has fought valiantly against the Coronavirus and the various complications caused by it. He has been finally discharged in good health from MGM Healthcare, a super-specialty quaternary care hospital in Chennai.
The doctor, who made national headlines when he risked his life in a selfless act by removing his oxygen support to provide another patient with ventilator support, tested positive on August 6, 2020 at a Surat hospital. He was put on supportive care and as his oxygen requirements increased, he was shifted to the COVID ICU and put on life support. The doctor who shared the ward with another patient, discovered that the patient was suffering with severe COVID infection and was in respiratory failure. At this point, he heroically took himself off life support to put the other patient on ventilator life support.
Dr K R Balakrishnan, Chairman — Cardiac Sciences and Director — Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support, said, “We all knew it was a difficult case, but given the circumstances, the superior facility and a team that yearns for a challenge — we believed that MGM would be the best place for him to be treated. It is indeed a proud moment as a doctor to save another doctor who is a national hero for putting his own life in danger to save a fellow COVID-19 patient.
Following this incident, as Dr Mehta’s condition worsened. He was given antiviral medicines such as Tocilizumab, Remdesivir and Convalescent plasma and was then shifted to a non-COVID ICU as he showed signs of improvement. However, increasing respiratory distress warranted intubation and he was back in the ICU where he was given antibiotics and antifungals in view of sepsis. With no improvement in the health of the patient, ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) was initiated. Complications developed in the collapse of his lungs, low tidal volume despite repeated bronchoscopies, and recruitment manoeuvres.
Dr Suresh Rao K G, Co-Director — Institute of Heart and Lung Transplant & Mechanical Circulatory Support and HOD – Cardiac Critical Care, said, “Dr Mehta was shifted to MGM Healthcare for specialised ECMO care. We continued to study the case thoroughly while antibiotics were being administered. ECMO cannulas were then re-positioned to achieve adequate flow while bronchoscopy performed on the patient showed thick purulent secretions. These secretions were cleared by daily bronchoscopies. His lung health slowly began to show improvement with an increase in tidal volumes.”
Commenting on the patient’s condition, Dr Apar Jindal, Clinical Director & Consultant, Lung Transplant, Interventional Pulmonology & Chest Medicine, said, “Dr Sanket was brought in with lungs heavily damaged by COVID-19. Since beginning his treatment here, his lungs have shown remarkable improvement and he is now breathing naturally.” A tracheostomy was done on the patient after family counselling, following which he was slowly weaned onto a CPAP machine. This helped improve his oxygenation and he was taken off ECMO.
“We are glad to have nursed a hero and a Corona warrior like Dr Mehta back to good health. He stood by the medical ethics of his profession and helped someone who needed treatment, regardless of his own safety. Such a selfless act earns a massive amount of respect and it was up to us to do everything we could from our end to ensure proper treatment and bring him back to being healthy. Dr Mehta will forever serve as an example to the coming generations who wants to be part of the medical fraternity,” said Dr Prashanth Rajagopalan, Director, MGM Healthcare.
Post-surgery the patient’s blood cultures continued to remain positive and antibiotics were continued. He was then weaned onto wearing a T piece/Tracheo life as his subglottic secretions continued to remain significant and his cuff was inflated. However, the secretions reduced and his cuff deflated as treatment continued. A final CT Chest scan showed his lungs to have recovered and the tracheostomy tube was then removed. Dr Mehta is currently stable and on his way to full fitness, health and vigour.