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6-month-old is Punjab’s youngest Covid death, 54 medical staff and family in quarantine




A medic works on Covid-19 samples | Manvender Vashist | PTI
A medic works on Covid-19 samples | Manvender Vashist | PTI

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Chandigarh: A six-month-old girl with a serious heart condition died of Covid-19 Thursday at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.

The child, whose family is from Phagwara in Kapurthala, was transferred to PGIMER on 9 April from a Ludhiana hospital where she was first admitted more than a month ago.

More than 50 staff members at the hospital and the girl’s family have been quarantined and are being tested for the virus.

The infant’s death takes the Punjab death toll from coronavirus to 17, and also makes her the youngest patient to die in the region. The youngest fatality in India has been a 45-day-old infant who died in New Delhi on 19 April.

Earlier this month, a 14-month-old child in Gujarat’s Jamnagar had died of the virus, becoming the first infant fatality in India.

Also read: India’s large young population could actually make Covid herd immunity strategy work

No travel history, symptoms

The child was initially being treated in Phagwara before she spent over a month in the Ludhiana hospital. As her condition deteriorated, she was referred to PGIMER in Chandigarh, where she was diagnosed with Covid-19 Wednesday.

Since the family had no history of travel nor did anyone display any symptoms of the disease, neither the child nor the family were initially tested.

While the source of her infection is still unknown, her family has alleged that she became infected in the hospital. A PGIMER spokesperson said that it was possible that the virus was incubating at the time of the infant was admitted to the hospital.

The PGIMER had Wednesday issued a statement after the infant tested positive, in which it said the baby, weighing 3 kg, was initially diagnosed as a case of acyanotic congenital heart disease with congestive heart failure.

“She had a ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect and patent ductus arteriosus.  She had been hospitalized in a corporate hospital in Ludhiana for 36 days and was subsequently referred to PGI, Chandigarh for corrective surgery … She was admitted in Advanced Pediatrics Centre on 09 April, 2020 and was critically ill,” the statement.

The baby was stabilised and required continuous ventilatory support and antimicrobials, after which she showed gradual improvement in her general condition, the hospital said.

“After detailed assessment by the cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, she was due to be taken up for open-heart surgery in the Advanced Cardiac Centre, PGI … However, a preoperative test for COVID-19 returned positive on 21 April, 2020. The baby was subsequently shifted to the COVID facility in Nehru Hospital Extension, PGI,” the hospital said.

PGIMER said all close contacts of the baby were being screened and the source of the infection being investigated. Officials said 54 doctors and health workers who were exposed to the infant while treating her have tested negative for the virus.

“Given that the incubation period of COVID-19 infection is generally up to 2 weeks (but can be variable), it is possible that the baby may have been incubating the infection at the time of admission to PGI. However, as she did not have any suggestive travel history or family contact she did not fulfil the requirements for pre-emptive screening,” the hospital said Wednesday.

In a subsequent statement issued Thursday, the PGI said: “On April 23rd her condition deteriorated further and expired at about 12:47 p.m. The cause of death was reported to be refractory shock, pulmonary artery hypertension and Covid-19. The last rituals of the deceased has been coordinated through Red Cross Chandigarh.”

Rise in Punjab cases

Of the 26 new infections reported Thursday, 18 are from Patiala, six from Jalandhar and two from Amritsar, according to a medical bulletin.

Mohali accounts for 62 of the total 283 cases, followed by Jalandhar which has reported 59 cases so far.

Forty-nine cases have surfaced in Patiala, 24 in Pathankot, 19 in Nawanshahr, 16 in Ludhiana, 13 in Amritsar, 11 in Mansa, seven in Hoshiarpur, four in Moga, three each in Rupnagar, Sangrur, Kapurthala and Faridkot, two each in Fatehgarh Sahib and Barnala, and one each in Muktsar, Gurdsapur and Ferozepur.

One patient is on ventilator support and in a critical condition, the bulletin said.

Seventeen of the 283 infected people have died and 66 discharged from hospital so far. The state currently has 200 active cases.

Altogether, 8,757 samples have been taken so far in the state. Of them, 7,433 tested negative and reports of 1,041 samples are still awaited.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Punjab curfew proves dangerous for women with 21% spurt in domestic violence complaints


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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