Early admission key to recovery of elderly patients from COVID-19, experts say

As apprehension over the spread of a variant strain of the COVID-19 virus continues into the new year, doctors and authorities stressed the importance of early admissions in hospitals for elderly patients, as they are more vulnerable to the virus.

“Any patient will recover [from COVID-19] if they are hospitalised on time,” said Deputy Director of Health Services (Coimbatore) G. Ramesh Kumar on Friday. Highlighting that the overall COVID-19 death rate of Coimbatore district was 1.24%, he noted that the death rate was declining. However, senior citizens must continue to take adequate precautions and get hospitalised even if they experience mild symptoms, Dr. Kumar said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dean of Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) P. Kalidas said that the hospital had seen the recoveries of patients aged over 70 years from COVID-19 in the past year as they were admitted at an early stage. Delayed hospitalisation, particularly of those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, was the major reason for many of the COVID-19 fatalities, he said.

One such example of timely hospitalisation of an elderly COVID-19 patient recently occurred at a private hospital in Coimbatore. A 69-year-old man with diabetes who contracted COVID-19 was admitted at G.K.N.M. Hospital on November 28, 2020. According to his relative, he had experienced mild symptoms of COVID-19 a few days earlier. “On the morning of November 28, he experienced breathlessness,” the relative said. The senior citizen was hospitalised on the same day.

At the hospital, doctors, under the supervision of the hospital’s Director – Intensive care unit G. Sathyamurthy, began treatment. Critical care physician Karthiraj Natarajan said that the elderly COVID-19 patient suffered from severe hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen) and was first placed on mechanical ventilator support, following which the doctors went in for prone ventilation where the patient receives ventilation while lying face-down. His health gradually improved and he was discharged nearly 20 days later on December 17, after recovering from COVID-19, he said.

Dr. Karthiraj Natarajan said that age was the major concern among doctors during the treatment. “After his recovery, we are also feeling more optimistic,” he said. The team who treated the patient also included Dr. Senthilkumar, Dr. Sabarish and Dr. Prasad, he noted.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:45:20 AM |

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