Doctor who risked his life to save patient is off ECMO

Chennai: Surat-based Dr Sanket Mehta, himself a Covid-19 patient who had risked his life by removing his oxygen support to intubate another elderly patient, is now off ECMO and is recovering, according to a private hospital here.

In a statement issued here, MGM Healthcare said after a thorough assessment Dr Mehta has been taken off ECMO on Tuesday and his lungs with 40 per cent oxygen support are able to sustain oxygenation at 100 per cent oxygen saturation.

“He has been undergoing intensive physiotherapy and his muscle power has gradually increased from Grade 0 to Grade 2. All his blood parameters are within the normal range,” the hospital said.

Dr Mehta was put on ECMO in a private hospital in Surat for Covid-19-induced respiratory failure.

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Dr Mehta hit the headlines when he risked his life by removing his oxygen support to intubate another patient who required ventilator support in the same intensive care unit (ICU).

“During this time his condition further deteriorated since he was off oxygen support for nearly 15-20 minutes,” MGM Healthcare said.

He was then shifted to the Chennai hospital.

According to MGM Healthcare, on arrival Dr Mehta had fluctuating oxygen saturation and was ECMO-dependent for oxygenation. His chest X-ray showed ‘white out’ lungs meaning his lungs were stiff and not contributing to oxygen exchange.

Additionally, he had severe muscular weakness and was only able to flicker his fingers, and not move any of his limbs.

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Over a period of time with continued management and support, his ventilation has improved, lungs have cleared on X-rays and he is able to maintain good oxygenation with 100 per cent oxygen saturation, MGM Healthcare said.

According to Dr Suresh Rao, Co-Director, Institute of Heart & Lung Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support, it was a difficult case. “Fortunately, we could wean him off ECMO with the recovery of lungs.”

Dr K.R. Balakrishnan, Chairman & Director of Cardiac Sciences and Director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Programme at MGM Healthcare said: “this time, we were dealing with a clinician par excellence who stood tall with his actions even when he himself was vulnerable.”

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