The 28-year-old woman from Nashik, Rupali Tathe, had developed the acute respiratory distress (ARDS) syndrome while suffering from swine flu and was put on a high-frequency ventilator at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH). It was in this state of virtually no consciousness that she delivered the baby.
“ARDS is characterised by very low levels of oxygen in the blood due to extensive lung damage,” the hospital’s consultant intensivist and pulmonologist B Y Pawar, who managed the critical care of the patient, told TOI. “The conventional ventilatator proved insufficient to maintain an adequate level of oxygen in Rupali’s blood, following which she was put on a high-frequency oscillatory ventilator (HFOV). It took 46 days for her to recover from ARDS. She was discharged on November 19. Both mother and child are safe.”
Rupali showed typical symptoms of swine flu sneezing, running nose, sore throat, high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. “She was treated at a private nursing home in Nashik. When her condition deteriorated, we shifted her to DMH,” said her brother-in-law Rahul Londhe, a medical practitioner.
Pawar said Rupali was admitted to the hospital on September 22. “She was seven months pregnant at the time of admission. She delivered the baby boy on October 10, the 18th day of being on the ventilator. She was not aware of the labour as she had been sedated,” he said.
“The patient had gestation of only 28 weeks at the time of delivery as against the normal 37 weeks. But we felt the delivery might actually help her poor respiratory condition,” said gynaecologist Pratibha Kulkarni, who handled the delivery.
Kulkarni said attempts at inducing labour were not successful initially. “But she started getting labour pains after we administered inducing drugs through the intravenous route. She delivered the baby through the normal procedure. She was not fully conscious at the time of delivery,” she added.
Paediatricians Arti Rajhans and Rashmi Gapchup said the baby weighed around 1,300 grams at the time of delivery. “The boy required neonatal intensive care for three weeks. He was then shifted to a regular ward for another two weeks.”