Published on June 12, 2021

AHMEDABAD: It will soon be three months when Himadri Suthar, 37, an Ahmedabad resident, tested positive for Covid-19. After battling it out in the ICU and spending 76 days in the hospital, Himadri was discharged but she is far from recovered. The young lady continues to need oxygen to sustain her breathing and nursing care to pull her through the health crisis.

Kushan Mistry, her brother, said that tests revealed Covid-19 had damaged 80% of her lungs. She survived the coronavirus with intense critical care where she was put in oxygen, NRBM and BiPAP subsequently but continues to remain ill. “She tested negative eventually, but her oxygen requirement did not go down. She could not breath, and thus was admitted again. Before she was discharged earlier this week, she had spent 76 days in hospital,” said Mistry.

‘Micro clots in lungs take time to heal’

Suthar, however, is not off the oxygen yet – she needs constant oxygen supply to sustain optimal levels. She is patient of, what experts are now identifying as, ‘long Covid’ where it takes months to get out of damage caused by viral infection.

As state begins to relax rules, Mistry has a word of caution. “It’s not just the prolonged hospitalization with a fat bill for my sister – I also lost my father to Covid-19 despite our best efforts. I urge all not to take infection lightly and follow all rules to save themselves and family members.”

Dr Maharshi Desai, a member of state-appointed Covid-19 task force, said that about 20% of patients on critical care need prolonged treatment due to Covid-induced complications. “Oxygen dependency is high in patients even after discharge. It means the path to recovery is long.”

Dr Manoj Singh, pulmonologist with Apollo Hospital, said that second wave severely affected lungs of patients. “The patients develop micro clots and cause oxygen deprivation. The damage takes anything between 1-3 months to heal partially.”

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