With the rapid increase in the number of Coronavirus infected individuals in India, there is an immediate need to adapt to social distancing and maintaining hygiene. To understand more on how the doctors and hospitals are handling the virus, and what one should do during these testing times, we got on a call with Dr Sushila Kataria, Senior Director – Internal Medicine from Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram. Dr Kataria and her team have also been credited for treating fourteen Italian patients who were initially diagnosed with the infectious virus – one of the first few such cases in the country. Earlier Dr Sushila Kataria spread awareness about Coronavirus through an interview with Credihealth. Watch what Dr Kataria said about the COVID-19, what it is, how it spreads, what symptoms will you face and the preventive measures that everyone should follow.
On being asked about the preparation for the COVID-19 outbreak and the Italian patients, Dr Sushila responds “On 4th of March, the PMO requested Dr Trehan to house the fourteen Italian coronavirus patients at Medanta, and after talking to Dr Trehan, we took up the challenge. We were thinking of doing preparedness drills within the hospital initially, but with the circumstances at hand, we had to quicken the process. Fortunately, we had one floor which was vacant and recently renovated. We had about five hours to make isolation rooms on this floor. We managed to make protocols, clean and infected areas were identified, and dedicated rooms to doctors, nurses and other staff were made available.”
“We worked on making treatment protocols as everything was new. The infection takes some time to manifest, and within two to three days, the symptoms got severe. We made ICU units there and then on the isolated floor and put telemedicine monitor carts over the patients to keep an eye on them throughout. I coordinated with their embassy and relatives and kept them posted about all the developments. Gradually most of them improved, and now 14 of them are healthy and back home,” she says.
While talking about changes in her routine, Dr Kataria mentions “My routine has changed a lot. I am here in the hospital by 8 am. I avoid meeting the staff in my room, and if it is required, I make sure they maintain distance. I then change into my scrubs, wear the protective suit and go inside the isolation unit. There I manage my patients, check the stats, update them, do all the routine investigations, which takes close to five hours. I have to shower almost four times in the day, especially every time I come out of the isolation units. I made some strong bonds with my patients and the staff. If they were worried or scared, I would talk to them and solve all their queries. I noticed that the patients who were more anxious and worried had a tougher time getting better. But ultimately, they got better, and I am happy about that.”
When asked about the signs and symptoms, and the risk factors of the COVID-19, Dr Kataria says, “Infected individuals will have a sore throat, dry cough and low to moderate grade fever. Most of them will get better in due course of time but severe cases will witness deterioration by day 7, 8, 9 and 10. They may experience breathlessness, low blood pressure and may require ventilator support.” She continues, “In my opinion, age is the biggest factor, followed by, poorly controlled diabetes. In my patients, hypertension or high cholesterol were not risk factors. I believe that blood pressure medications may have helped treat the disease in my patients.”
Also addressing challenges, Dr Sushila mentions, “At the hospital, we had to make protocols for everything from scratch, create an ICU in the isolation unit, monitor an infectious patient on a ventilator 24×7 with limited staff, which was challenging. I was away from my family, I was having meals separately, using a separate bedroom, bathroom, but my children and husband have been very helpful, understanding and supportive during this time.”
When asked about diagnostic tests and home quarantine, she says, “The labs will not test for the virus without the doctor’s prescription. One has to consult the doctor and only after the doctor orders the test, can they get the test done. Also, it is important to understand that if you are following all the precautions, it is highly unlikely that you will have the infection. Try not to leave your homes unnecessarily.”
According to Dr Sushila, “Home quarantine is for people suspected with Coronavirus disease, especially if they have come in contact with an infected patient, or have a travel history to any of the infected countries. If one is showing symptoms but has tested negative, they have to be home quarantined for a minimum of two weeks. They can’t leave their homes and have to maintain at least one meter distance from all the members in the house. It is best if they use a separate bedroom and bathroom. The doorknobs should be cleaned regularly, and the clothes and utensils of the suspected individual should be washed separately.”
When asked about any advice she would like to share, Dr Kataria says, “Do not get impatient, stay at home and stay calm. People are more worried and affected by the fear of the disease and not by the disease itself, so do not get paranoid. This too shall pass.”
Indian Ministry of health and family welfare started helplines for Coronavirus. These Covid-19 helplines were accessible all day. Call at these helplines numbers in case of need:
|National Helpline no||011-23978046|
|New – Delhi||011-23385743|
|South West||011 -25066674|
About Dr Sushila Kataria
Dr Sushila Kataria is Senior Director of Internal Medicine at Medanta -The Medicity, Gurgaon. She has over 19 years of experience in her field.
She completed MBBS from Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma University of Health Sciences Rohtak in 1997, MD – General Medicine from Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma University of Health Sciences Rohtak in 2001 and PGDMLS from Symbiosis Institute of Health Sciences in 2004.
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