Chennai, Sep 23 (PTI): A few days before her 28th birthday on August 27, a pregnant woman here found she had contracted COVID-19, but what was her greatest worry was what lay in store for her baby.
Displaying grit while going through an induced coma, Priyadarshini was delivered of a pre-term girl, but the woman's anxiety and pain was she could not see her infant immediately after birth. She was forced to wait for a month to feed her loved one.
Priyadarshini's determination earned the praise of doctors at the city's Kauvery Hospital where she was brought in the early hours of August 21 with complaints of breathlessness and discomfort.
This was four days after she tested positive for COVID-19.
With her family members under home isolation, she was alone at the hospital and did not know whether she would survive to see her soon-to-be-delivered baby, and began to worry about its fate too.
'Most people with COVID-19 will get fed up while some end up on the ventilator. But this young woman who fought against all odds, was delivered of a pre-term baby,' Dr Sridhar N, Head of Critical Care, Kauvery Hospital, told reporters.
'We had to put her under a medically induced coma and ensure oxygen supply. She has not seen her baby immediately after delivery,' Dr Sridhar said.
Shortly after admission, Priyadarshini who was in her 28th week of pregnancy was put on ventilator as the oxygen-levels in her blood dropped.
Generally, in cases of extreme hypoxia where the body or a region of it doesn't get adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level, doctors place the patients in a prone position. But, the medics ruled out the option in this case as the woman was pregnant.
To ensure the safety of the mother and baby, the team of doctors recommended an emergency C-section, but there were a lot of risks associated as the mother was in the 28th week of pregnancy and the baby's lungs were not fully developed.
Nevertheless, the doctors obtained the family's consent and performed the C-section, and the newborn shifted to the neonatal ICU.
Subsequently, the mother was taken to the ICU and placed on ventilator. In a week, she improved and the doctors removed her from the assisted support.
She was shifted to the ward later, and was allowed to see the infant for the first time in NICU. After she recovered from COVID-19, she was allowed to feed the baby.
'The 48 hours of intensive and aggressive medical management improved her health and she was taken off the ventilator,' Sridhar added.
Being underweight, the baby required respiratory support and she developed sepsis.
'We had to resort to transfusion and had to give antibiotics for 21 days to save the child from peril,' said Dr Karthik Thiyagarajan, neonatologist.
'I had to spend three sleepless nights attending to the baby who is alright now. She is now by her mother's side and maintaining normal temperature,' he added.
'I did not know how my baby looked like when she was born. I never thought that I would pull through (alive). The doctors said my child's life was critical (then). Now I am happy that the doctors have saved my life and my child's,' a moist-eyed Priyadarshini said.
She is an employee of a private firm here.
Dr N Ezhilan, consultant, General Medicine; Dr Sabeeha, TS Senior Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology; and Dr Hemalatha Iyanar, Consultant Anesthesiologist, were also in the team that saved the mother and child who are to be discharged after over a month at the hospital.
Dr Aravindan Selvaraj, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, lauded the woman's grit.
'Her grit and will power helped her fight the infection and ensured her baby's safety, which is commendable. We hope this brings courage and faith to many people around the world,' he said. PTI JSP SA NVG NVG