Gujarat: For many patients with mucormycosis, cure means depleting savings



A Vadodara couple have been saving money for their dream of a world tour since their wedding in 2011. They even made their dream of a home come true in October of last year.

But things took a different turn when the husband, a 40-year-old banking executive, contracted Covid-19 in April. After a near-death experience with the virus and a stay of nearly 25 days in a private hospital, Rajeev was detected with mucormycosis in early May and is undergoing treatment at a private multispecialty hospital.

“While it looked like we were on the road to recovery, another episode of the infection hit us in the first week of June, about two weeks after he was released and the doctors said they should perform a maxillectomy and he suffered loss of certain neurological functions, which caused visual impairment in his left eye. Doctors advised continuing periodic scans to determine any further spread, “his wife said.

The family, who have to pay a monthly NDE on their mortgage, have so far spent a large chunk of their savings on treatment.

“The treatment of Covid19 first and now for mucormycosis has totally drained our funds. Not only have we spent the money we had saved to tick our goals off our to-do lists, but we actually dread facing the extra expense of treating the disease. Medicines are so expensive and hard to come by, ”she added.

For several other families like this Vadodara couple, the infection has drained their savings.

Inside the Mucormycosis Department of SSG Vadodara Hospital, at the bedside of each patient is black plastic covering each intravenous vial and infusion sets to protect amphotericin-B from exposure to light while it is being used. administration.

Among the many patients – many of whom brought their own stand ventilators to beat the wet weather – is a 48-year-old employee of a private company.

The patient said his company asked him to quit because he had not been able to get to work since mid-March of this year.

Her brother said: “First, our parents suffered from Covid-19 and were critical. My mother is also deceased. So my brother had taken time off to take care of them. He was later diagnosed with Covid-19 and was critical, under BiPAP assistance, at a government hospital for more than three weeks. “

“He barely recovered and joined the service for about five days when he developed discomfort and swelling in his face was diagnosed with mucormycosis. He had the first debridement at a private hospital but the infection relapsed and doctors said he should have orbital exenteration, ”the brother added.

Kherunisha Ibrahim Patel, 53, a teacher in Bharuch’s government, had her left upper jaw and maxillary sinuses removed during a second surgery and has been on treatment for mucormycosis since early May.

Her son, Dr Naeem Patel, says the family spent over Rs 10 lakh on the treatment. “Our priority is her health right now, but she might feel the pinch a few months later if she is unable to continue teaching due to the disfigurement,” says Patel.

Dr Ranjan Aiyer, medical superintendent at SSG Hospital and also head of the ENT department, says affordability is an important factor in treating mucormycosis. “Medicines are expensive and infection, if not removed properly, can resurface… Currently, at SSG, we have nearly 40% of patients, who first underwent surgeries in private hospitals. .

In the mucormycosis ward at the 1,200-bed facility of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, where around 50 to 60 patients are currently being treated by the Government Dental College and Hospital on the same campus, exhausted and worried relatives accompanying the patients take turns caring for their loved ones feeling the side effects of the drugs.

Among the patients is a 70-year-old woman, diagnosed with mucormycosis on May 3, accompanied by her 42-year-old son, owner of a Nani Kadi grocery store in Mehsana. The man admits that treating his mother’s illness wiped out his savings and left him in debt, putting his son’s engineering training on hold at a private institution.

“Following a CT scan, she was operated on in a private hospital for transnasal debridement, which cost us Rs 2.10 lakh. We moved to another private hospital in Vastral, where we spent Rs 1.80 lakh on drugs and another Rs 6.55 lakh on 84 injections of liposomal amphotericin B, costing around Rs 7,800 each. After 14 days of stay, they told us that we had to have her admitted to the civilian hospital because the liposomal amphotericin B was also rare, ”he says.

Ram Khemani (55), a resident of Naroda Patiya in Ahmedabad, had his upper jaw removed on June 5 and has been in and out of hospitals since April 12, when he was admitted to a private facility for Covid-19 treatment.

Sangeeta Khemani, his wife, said: “We already spent Rs 10 lakh during his Covid-19 19 treatment when he was hospitalized for 25 days. So in mid-May, when he started to have a toothache and was subsequently diagnosed with mucormycosis, we had no choice but to go to a public hospital. He works in a confectionery and we have had no income for the past two months and we have used up our savings.



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