- Dr Gupta had bid goodbye to her family before being ventilated
- 10 days after the ventilation, Dr Gupta had to be placed on an ECMO
- Dr Gupta spent about 150 days in the hospital at Manchester
New Delhi: Dr Anusha Gupta, an Indian-origin family physician in Manchester, United Kingdom and a COVID-19 survivor, spent 2 months in medical Coma on an ECMO (Extra Corporal Membrane Oxygenation) machine, considered practically the last resort for 35 days. The 40-year-old tells NDTV that she had bid goodbye to her family including her young daughter before the being ventilated.
About 2 weeks after my 40th birthday last year, March 2020, I became very unwell and suddenly my condition was deteriorating. The ICU consultant came to see me and said that I would have to be ventilated. At the time, my oxygen saturation was extremely low at about 80 per cent. That was when I called my husband and said I need to see my daughter because I thought I was not going to make it, Dr Gupta said.
She says that her daughter was 18 months old at the time. Once Dr Gupta was ventilated, she was in a medical coma for 2 months. Within that time, 10 days after the ventilation, she had to be placed on an ECMO.
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.
ECMO is considered as the most superior from of life support. I was on this for 34 days. It is considered as the last resort to save someone’s life and one has to fit in many criteria to be able to go on ECMO. One of the main questions that one thinks of before ECMO is concluding that a person is sick enough to go for it and if they will have a good outcome, she explained.
She said that there are only 5 ECMO centres in the UK and she was lucky enough to be admitted in a hospital in Manchester which happens to be one of those 5 centres. Even while on ECMO, her condition had deteriorated before it improved.
Overall, I was in a medical coma for about 2 months, ECMO obviously did save my life, she said.
Dr Gupta had to re-learn standing and walking after she came out of the coma. She spent about 150 days in the hospital at Manchester. Talking about what kept her going during these difficult times, Dr Gupta said,
My family have been absolutely amazing. My daughter, my husband, they have been behind me every step of the way. And the team in the hospital who looked after me, I feel very lucky.
When asked what she would tell patients and families struggling through this second wave of the virus in India, Dr Gupta said,
In India the population is so huge compared to the UK but 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.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.