An Indian-origin doctor in the UK has recovered from Covid after spending two months in a medically induced coma. The 40-year-old, who had bid goodbye to her family before the procedure, told NDTV that she was on ECMO — Extra Corporal Membrane Oxygenation machine, considered practically the last resort — for 35 days.
“My family have been absolutely amazing. My daughter, my husband, they have been behind me every step of the way,” said Dr Anusha Gupta, who had to re-learn standing and walking after she came out of the coma. Overall, she spent 150 days in the hospital at Manchester – one of the five ECMO centres in the UK.
A family physician, Dr Gupta had contracted Covid a couple of weeks after her 40th birthday in March last year. Her condition deteriorated suddenly, with the oxygen saturation dropping below 80 per cent.
“I was very ill and my condition suddenly deteriorated. The ICU consultant came to see me in the ward and told me that I have to be ventilated,” Dr Gupta told NDTV. She said she called her husband on WhatsApp and asked to see their daughter who was 18 months old at the time. “I was ventilated and days after I had to go on ECMO,” she added.
Explaining the system, Dr Gupta said ECMO is a superior sort of life support system which functions like a pair of lungs while the patient’s lungs rest and heal.
Even while on ECMO, her condition had deteriorated before it improved.
Asked what she would tell patients and families struggling through this second wave of the virus in India, she said, “One thing that worked here that brought the rates down is having strict lockdowns, abiding by social distancing and of course vaccination”.
Admitting that the vaccination rates need to be improved, she said the basic thing, however, is “abiding by social distancing rules”.