By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) A three-day-old infant born in Uttar Pradesh travelled 17 hours on ventilator in an ambulance to get admitted to Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the national capital for a cardiac procedure.
Post-surgery, the miracle child showed immense improvement and was discharged within 10 days of neonatal intensive care.
The recent event came to light when the infant was referred to Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi, post developing breathing trouble right after birth.
Surgeons said that the surgery was a high-risk procedure owing to the infant’s low birth weight of around 1.5 kg — the lowest weighing child to have ever gone through such a complex cardiac procedure at this hospital.
In view of need, Apollo arranged for the baby’s travel to Delhi.
“The child travelled for 17 hours on a ventilator in an ambulance and was successfully operated at Apollo Hospital,” the hospital told IANS.
Dr Muthu Jothi, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, Interventional Cardiology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said that the case was specifically challenging as a lot of time was lost in getting the baby here and beginning his treatment.
“The surgery was a high-risk procedure owing to the infant’s low birth weight (1.5 kgs). This was the lowest weighing child at 1.5 kgs, to have ever gone through such a complex cardiac procedure at this hospital. The timely treatment of the kid saved him,” Dr Jothi, the lead surgeon for the procedure said.
Amidst COVID-19 fear and imposed restrictions on travel, the hospital says emergency services were the worst hit and health conditions that need immediate medical attention have taken a toll.
It has been observed that people are delaying their surgeries owing to the fear of visiting a hospital and contracting the infection, the hospital said, adding there is no health condition irrespective of age group that can be ignored or the treatment for which can be put on hold.
“More so in the case of infants who are born with congenital heart diseases.”
Dr Jothi said that congenital heart diseases can be life-threatening for children especially when the treatment is delayed and that if not detected and simultaneously treated at birth, the child develops symptoms like shortness of breath, heart murmurs, recurrent respiratory and lung infections.
“This not only impacts the quality of life of the child but also affects the child development and limits life expectancy.”
Sharing details, the hospital said similar was the case of a seven-year-old child hailing from Ludhiana, who was born with a hole in her heart leading to very high pressure in the lungs (a large ventricular septal defect and severe pulmonary hypertension).
The child’s surgery had been delayed for a few years owing to financial limitations of the family, the hospital said.
Consequently, it said, the girl was brought into Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in an emergency situation when episodes of pneumonia and breathlessness worsened.
Amidst stringent travel and lockdown rules, arrangements were made for the child’s transportation to Delhi, where she was operated successfully.
In situations like this, the hospital says, apart from the surgery itself, travel approvals and organizing finances from various NGOs becomes a larger challenge for the hospital, as every minute wasted can be life threatening for the patient.
“Late surgical interventions in children with congenital heart disease can result in several morbidities and mortality. Hence delaying the procedures only puts the patient’s life at a greater risk, where surgical interventions at a later stage might not be successful,” it added.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])