Indeed! Doctors are living gods. It is proven once again during the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. An Indian American doctor has given a new lease of life to a COVID19 patient with severe lungs damage. The woman in her 20s had lost her lungs to the COVID19 infection, and she had barley any chances of survival. The success of a double lung transplant on her is being hailed as the first of its kind during a pandemic, in the medical history of the United States.
Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, led a team of surgeons in performing the surgery on the woman. “This is one of the toughest transplants I have done. Also, this is the first such surgery on a COVID19 patient in the USA and gives us hope that organ transplantation may become a lifesaver for victims with severe damages from the deadly virus,” Dr. Ankit Bharat said.
The patient, a Hispanic woman, is steadily recovering at the post-operative stage. She was put on a ventilator and other assistive devices for six weeks in the ICU before the transplantation occurred to her.
Dr. Bharat, who hails from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, said that the COVID19-affected woman’s case was one of the most challenging he had ever dealt with. The coronavirus ate into her lungs resulting in a reduced supply of oxygen to the bloodstream. Her heart and other organs had begun to be affected due to the insufficient oxygen supply. Initially, she was put on a mechanical ventilator to ease her respiratory tensions. Later, an extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation device was used to pump extra oxygen into her body and help the heart circulate the oxygenated blood through the vessels.
The life-saving transplantation could not be operated on her unless she tested negative for COVID19. The fluid from her damaged lungs was tested over and again until the COVID19 test reports showed her negative. With each day passing by, she was inching towards death. Yes by early June, there was little hope for her survival against the irreversible damage to her lungs. She luckily tested negative just two days before a brain-dead organ donor was found matching her medical requirements, Dr. Ankit Bharat said. Few donor organs meet certain transplantation requirements.
The day she tested negative for COVID19 the first time after 6 weeks of intensive care, Dr. Bharat and his team of surgeons were more than happy for her. “A lung transplant was her only way to get back life,” said Indian-origin Dr. Bharat, the surgical director of Northwestern Medicine’s lung transplant program, in a press release. “We want other transplant centers to know that while the transplant procedure in these patients is quite technically challenging, it can be done safely, and it offers the terminally ill COVID19 patients another option for survival,” he added.
Dr. Ankit Bharat is the first thoracic surgeon with the distinction of having performed a robotic-assisted lung volume reduction surgery on patients with severe emphysema. Dr. Bharat and his team wish her a full recovery. The woman’s recovery from COVID19 and journey back to life post the critical surgery has become a case study for the multidisciplinary research team at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare in Chicago.
Subscribe to Travel Beats, a leading overseas Indian community portal, for latest Indian Diaspora stories, US visa & immigration news, and air travel to India updates. Travel Beats is a subsidiary of Indian Eagle, a trusted air-ticketing partner of NRIs and OCIs, with a proven record in booking cheap flights to India from India.