Fishing boat, internet and Delhi doc help save critically-ill Assam man
Facing the double whammy of Covid-19 and floods, Assam is in a precarious condition.
New Delhi: Facing the double whammy of Covid-19 and floods, Assam is in a precarious condition. With many hospitals, clinics, and primary health centres submerged, patients suffering from complicated and critical health conditions have been left on their own. However, a story of how a critically-ill patient in a remote village in the state received help from a leading Delhi hospital to survive shows a glimmer of hope in such gloomy times.
Two weeks ago, Dr Ushast Dhir of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here, received a distress call from Mofisur Rehman. He frantically asked for help for his friend, Lalchand Biswas, whose abdomen had swelled and was barely breathing. After learning about the patient's medical history, Dhir, a gastrointestinal and liver transplant surgeon, diagnosed that Biswas had acute liver failure due to liver cirrhosis.
"Rehman obtained my number through a patient I treated in Guwahati when I visited there during an assignment in February this year. Rehman told me that all the hospitals in the area were closed, and the doctors were also not available. I asked him to show me the patient on a video call," he said.
Dhir immediately made arrangements for the medical teleconsultation through video conferencing. However, there was a further challenge as there was no internet connectivity in the place Biswas was.
As time passed, the patient started getting unconscious. Meanwhile, Rehman arranged a fishing boat and searched for an area where internet connectivity was available. "The floods have destroyed the network connectivity in most parts. We navigated to find a place where the mobile internet was available. After three hours, we reached an area on higher ground where the internet connection was available," said Rehman.
After the link was set-up, Dhir saw the patient. He demonstrated to Biswas' wife, who had accompanied him on the boat, how to check the pulse and directed her to check other vitals.
As Biswas needed medication urgently, Dhir's local contacts in Guwahati came handy here. "I rang up my contacts who transported medicines and injections in an hour to the patient. However, I was worried about how his wife would administer him the medication," he said.
Fortunately, it was discovered that Rehman is a pharmacist and Dhir gave him instructions for clinical examinations and administering injections. Rehman and Biswas' wife followed every instruction till Biswas regained consciousness after six hours.
Dhir then regularly followed up on Biswas' condition, while the hospital also delivered a month's supply of medicine and injections to him. "Currently, his condition is stable. However, he would need a liver transplant for a recovery," he said.
Dhir also said that the hospital is also planning to fly Biswas down to Delhi for the surgery. "We are taking stock of funds and logistics, which would be needed in the process. Once the situation normalises there, we would call him here," he added.
Hospital Chairman, Dr D.S. Rana took pride over his hospital's assistance to Biswas. "Our hospital follows the ideals of Sir Ganga Ram, who was always at the forefront to help needy patients irrespective of distance and their financial conditions. This was one more such step in that direction," he said.
Rehman also expressed his gratitude for the immediate medical assistance he received from the hospital. "All the hospitals were closed in our area at that time. Without quick medical advice, my friend would have died. I wanted to help him as he has no one in the family who can take care of him. I am thankful to SGRH for their help," he said.