'Other mothers' were mostly women COVID-19 positive patients, nurses, and doctors
'Other mothers' were mostly women COVID-19 positive patients, nurses, and doctors|EastMojo image
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2-yr-old girl, Sikkim's youngest COVID-19 patient, discharged; father shares account

2.3-year-old girl, kept away from both her parents & admitted at STNM Hospital in Gangtok since June 10, was taken care of by 'other mothers'

Pankaj Dhungel

Pankaj Dhungel

Gangtok: Sikkim’s youngest COVID-19 positive patient, a 2.3-year-old girl, was discharged from the isolation ward of STNM Hospital in Gangtok on Saturday. The baby was of concern, not merely because she was the youngest, but also because her mother had tested negative and was taken care of by most of the other women patients and nurses at the isolation ward for almost a month.

Admitted on the night of June 10 from the PNG quarantine facility, her father was at a quarantine facility in Pakyong, while the mother was left behind at the PNG quarantine facility.

The child had come from Rajasthan and had an extended stay in Kolkata, West Bengal with her parents before they entered Sikkim. Upon the discharge of the baby girl, paediatrician Jigmee Tenzing, who was the doctor in charge at the isolation ward over the past one week, told EastMojo, "She was admitted on the night of June 10 and for the next two weeks, she was still positive. When we conducted a test 2-3 days ago, she tested negative. Now, she is fine, totally asymptomatic, and ready to go home. The food given to her was mostly normal, she was having bread as any other patient, she was being aided by other women patients, taking her to the toilet and everything. She was not being breastfed but a very adjustable baby. The disease can extend for two-three weeks, hence it took time. Now her immune system has overcome the disease. She tested negative on two occasions, she got the nest treatment and love a child gets."

The child had come from Rajasthan and had an extended stay in Kolkata, West Bengal with her parents before they entered Sikkim
The child had come from Rajasthan and had an extended stay in Kolkata, West Bengal with her parents before they entered Sikkim EastMojo image

Upon hearing of the discharge, the father of the child who was still under home quarantine in Luing village, a week after being discharged from Pakyong quarantine, was allowed by the Panchayat concerned to fetch her. A similar message was conveyed to the father in the early hours of Saturday morning to come to take the patient. Speaking with EastMojo, the father of the baby stated, "Without the baby has been sleepless nights for me, this morning I woke up at 3 am as the doctors had prompted the second test result conducted in 24 hours would come today. Around 6:30 am today morning, I got a call from the doctor telling me that the baby tested negative and was ready for discharge. I was at the hospital from 8 am. My world revolves around my baby, be it here with her or anywhere else."

The father of the baby extended gratitude to all those who came in aid of the baby as her 'second mother' in the isolation ward, along with the doctors and nurses. The mother of the baby is still under home quarantine and could not come to the hospital. The baby has been instructed strict quarantine at home for the next 14 days.

"It was a mistake on our part to come back home, had we stayed back maybe she would not have tested positive. We had reached Kolkata from Rajasthan and we had some movements in an attempt to reach back home in Sikkim. We had stayed for almost 3 months there, we had applied for tickets to return, but with my voter card not being with me, the same could not be finalised earlier, hence we got late in returning," her father said.

The father of the girl extended gratitude to all those who came in aid of the baby as her 'second mother' in the isolation ward, along with the doctors and nurses
The father of the girl extended gratitude to all those who came in aid of the baby as her 'second mother' in the isolation ward, along with the doctors and nurses EastMojo image

The baby was admitted from the PNG School Quarantine with symptoms of fever. Even while in quarantine, the father admitted that he had tried to provide all necessary facilities for the baby though aids from his family, the same facilitation followed in the hospital as well, from her diapers to other requirements, even for those taking care of her.

"Being away from her was tough all this time, I couldn’t eat well, video calling was allowed, initially she used to cry but later she got acquainted with those around and stopped crying as well. I thought she had forgotten us, but now that she is silent in my arms, I think she has not,” he said.

The only concern as placed by the father was no prior information to him when the baby had to be moved from quarantine to isolation in the hospital.

"When we were put under quarantine, the contact details of the family members were taken, my number was taken, so that information of the doctors concerned taking my baby to isolation, should have informed me. The baby was tested and it appears that the result had come through by 3 pm on that day, yet she was taken to isolation late around 11 pm. Even any member of the family could have been informed. Panicked, I urged the Pakyong quarantine in charge to help me get in touch with the quarantine in charge of PNG School. I was able to talk with the nurses in the isolation, who assured that she was safe," he said.

On the first ‘other mother’ who took care of the baby, having swapped her own with the mother of 2.3-year-old child, the father said, "Initially, it was a Lepcha woman who took care of my baby, later it was a Namchi woman who took care of the baby. They have been urging me for a video call with the baby, so she has bonded well with all of them. Even when they were shifted after testing negative, they always had concern for the baby. I used to feel I was concerned only for my baby, but they have made me think otherwise for every other baby."

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