Amid Covid-19 pandemic, newborn makes 380-km journey for heart surgery

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Home / India News / Amid Covid-19 pandemic, newborn makes 380-km journey for heart surgery

Rohit Chavan is only two and a half months old, but he has already survived a ten-hour journey by road from Sangli in western Maharashtra to Mumbai amid lockdown, and then an open heart surgery.

Now he is back in his village. It became possible because of coordinated efforts of doctors in the two cities and the Sangli district administration.

Rohit was born on March 16, barely a week before lockdown to contain coronavirus was announced.

“He had transposition of great arteries, which meant the two main arteries were reversely connected with the heart chambers, resulting into the body getting low oxygenated blood,” said Dr Laxmikant Magdum, medical officer of the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Mission for Sangli district.

“The complication was further escalated when the body scan revealed the lungs supplying purified blood were getting drained through the liver. It was the first such case in my entire professional life,” he said.

“The baby was in dire need of oxygenated blood as well as corrective surgeries, so we contacted hospitals in Mumbai,” he said.

Rohit’s parents had taken him to the Sangli civil hospital after he became seriously ill, but the surgery which he needed could not be performed there.

“The only option we had was to shift the baby to Mumbai in the midst of coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr Magdum.

The officials in the Sangli district collector’s office arranged ambulance transport for the baby patient.

When asked how the family raised the funds for the treatment, Magdum said, “Most of the cost was covered under the Union government’s Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram.”

“As we had no facility here for conducting open heart surgery, we recommended that the baby be taken to NH SRCC Children’s hospital in Mumbai,” he said.

The hospital in Mumbai, which is run by a charitable trust, agreed to bear some of the cost of the surgery.

Before leaving for Mumbai, 380 km away, Rohit had to undergo a coronavirus test and get ascertained that he was not carrying the infection.

During the journey, the doctors had to ensure that he was supplied with oxygen all the time. “We equipped six ambulances with oxygen supply equipment, and they transported the patient from Sangli to Mumbai (in relay) which took over ten hours,” Dr Magdum said.

After undergoing the surgery in the third week of May, the baby and his parents stayed at the hospital for a few days before returning to their village.

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