Chennai Covid Patient, 56, Recovers After 109 Days On Ventilator Support

At Chennai's Rela Hospital its a new lease of life for 56-year-old Mohamed Muddhija. His lungs suffered total damage after he had tested positive for Covid in April-end.

56 year-old Mudijja stepped out of the hospital as a healthy man on Thursday.

Chennai:

A Covid patient in Chennai whose lungs were fully damaged has completely recovered after being on ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) support or artificial lungs for 62 days. He is being touted as India's longest surviving patient on ECMO without transplantation.

At Chennai's Rela Hospital it's a new lease of life for 56-year-old Mohamed Muddhija. His lungs suffered total damage after he had tested positive for Covid in April end. Doctors had put him on ECMO after the condition of his lungs deteriorated requiring 10 litres of oxygen per minute.

The businessman was waitlisted for lung transplant after four weeks. That was the time the second wave peaked and he could not get the organ. However, the doctors didn't lose hope. He continued on ECMO and his lungs recovered in the ninth week.

Still on his wheelchair, as he prepared to leave the hospital after being on ventilator for 109 days, a jubilant Mohamed told NDTV, "It's my second birth. Whatever they (doctors) asked me to do I did. I had put all my efforts in God's hands."

Doctors say Mr Mohamed displayed tremendous will power and mental strength. The survivor said, "I was mostly unconscious. My wife took care of everything. But I'm a sportsman and that kept me strong. Now I will get back to my business activity and take care of my family and relatives".

His daughter, MA Marzuka, turned emotional. She has even added a gym at their home so her father could work out. ECMO costs around Rs 40 lakh a month. She added, "Everyone can't afford this. Even we found it difficult but we had to do this for our father. We thank all our doctors."

It was Mohamed's wife, HA Arunmozhi Fathima, who was in command. On what gave her the hope and confidence, the Supreme Court lawyer said, "I was confused sometimes. But I was clear that a lung transplant could affect my husband's brisk nature. So I was prepared to wait".

Experts believe this success story offers a ray of hope for those with severe lung damage due to Covid.

Professor Mohamed Rela, Chairman and Managing Director of Rela Hospital, said, "Not all patients on ECMO will require a lung transplant and if you carry on with it, there may be an opportunity for some patients to recover without lung transplant. I believe we still don't understand the lung damage in Covid, it's a new disease." 

While its good news for the Mohamed family, ECMO support costs around Rs 40 lakh a month and only a small percentage can afford this. 

Dr Rela added, "Only a miniscule number of people require ECMO and a funding mechanism by the government and NGOs could save more lives."