Mumbai: Baby Eliza's condition worsens, but hospital refuses admission
Four-month-old baby Eliza battling cerebrospinal fluid turned away from PICU for lack of beds
For Baby Eliza's parents, it was a doctor at Cooper hospital who gave them hope after he promised to treat the four-month-old free of charge. And yet, it was the same hospital that dashed this hope yesterday, after refusing to admit the child for an urgent procedure.
This paper had earlier reported how the infant is suffering from hydrocephalus as a result of a premature birth under the stressful circumstances. Her father, Anand Waghmare is employed with Air India, which is allegedly harassing him for being a whistle-blower. Consulting neurosurgeon Dr Shashank Joshi offered to treat the child for free after reading of their plight in this paper.
An emotional Anand said, "On Friday, we consulted Dr Joshi. He advised to carry out the procedure urgently. He asked us to hospitalise Eliza on Saturday. Accordingly, we went to the hospital at 8.45 am to complete the formalities."
Anand and Jayanti with Eliza, at Cooper hospital
But four hours later, they were turned away. Anand recalled, "We had completed all the required formalities, and were directed to paediatric ward no. 16. But the on-duty paediatrician refused to admit Eliza, stating that they had not been intimated about the patient in advance, and that they had no vacant beds in the PICU."
After some time, a neurosurgeon arrived to explain to the on-duty paediatricians why Eliza needed to be admitted, but the request was still not accepted. "Dr Joshi advised us to return on Monday," said Anand, adding, "We are keeping our fingers crossed, as the doctors are doing their best at Cooper. Had Eliza been admitted today, the surgical procedure would have been done on Monday, which would have given some relief to her. The circumference of her head is around 46 cm, even after removing over 40 ml of CFS by tapping her brain twice."
On Monday, the doctor was to insert an Ommaya reservoir (an intraventricular catheter system that can be used for the aspiration of cerebrospinal fluid or CSF), as a temporary measure to reduce the CSF accumulation in her brain. A more permanent solution is to insert a shunt to reroute the CSF flow. However, a recent test report of CSF showed high protein levels over 400 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL). Doctors want to bring this down to 100 mg/dL before inserting the shunt.
Risk of permanent damage
Anand added, "We have seen Eliza's MRI and it clearly shows that her brain is compressed and the entire head is filled with CSF. If her situation remains the same, it will cause severe neurological damage to her forever."
Meanwhile, help continued to pour in for the family, as they received a cheque of Rs 52,500 from the Aviation Association (South Region). So far, the family has received over R2 lakh in financial assistance.
However, the AIESL (Air India Engineering Services Limited) has not paid Anand his salary till date. A senior management member of AIES from Delhi said, "Directives have been given to the personnel department in Nagpur to carry out certain measures in this matter. Also, the committee has completed their preliminary inquiry and they have made certain recommendations, that are being looked into. I will be in a position to give details early next week."
'Will admit on Monday'
Dr Joshi said, "We have been draining the excess fluid every second or third day. We have also received reports from KEM hospital, and luckily there is no infection in the CSF that was tested, which is a good sign."
He added, "The size reduces after tapping, but increases again as the fluid accumulates. Therefore, we decided to do the Ommaya reservoir insertion on Monday. "I will ensure that the child is admitted on Monday. After completing all the pre-procedural tests, we will take the child for Ommaya insertion on Wednesday."
A few minutes later, he said, "We have contacted the patient's family, and they are on their way to the hospital. We are admitting the child." Anand confirmed that the hospital had contacted him but that he would take Eliza to the hospital on Monday.
Dr Ganesh Shinde, hospital dean and in-charge of Cooper hospital, said, "If the child is brought now [Saturday evening], I will ensure she is admitted. If they come on Monday as well, the needful will be done."
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