Gangtok: Sikkim health minister MK Sharma who tested COVID-19 positive on August 21, was shifted to STNM Hospital’s COVID ward on Monday night. EastMojo had covered an incident when it was learned that the health minister was rushed to a non-COVID Central Referral Hospital for a CT Scan. The reason for the same, now that it is learned, was because the health minister had developed some cough.
Later after the CT Scan, the diagnosis asserted that he had COVID pneumonia on a very minor scale. The hospital administration asserted that barring X-Ray, CT Scan gives a clear image of the backside of the lungs as well, to ascertain the severity of the minister’s COVID pneumonia.
Sharing expertise on the same, STNM Hospital medical superintendent Dr CS Sharma, while speaking with EastMojo, said, “Dr MK Sharma had to be shifted to the hospital, instead of his choice of staying in his residence, largely because he had developed some consolidation in his lungs, which in layman terms can be defined as grade 1 of COVID pneumonia. There is a medicine in contention called Remdesivir which must be administered on patients with COVID pneumonia, which cannot be administered from home. It needs a hospital monitor, hence he was shifted to COVID ward of the hospital on Monday night.”
Asserting on the same, a senior doctor currently under COVID duty in the Hospital, catering to the health minister and 47 other COVID patients, stated, “The minister is fine, the only problem was he had symptoms of pneumonia needing the injection Remdesivir, which cannot be administered from home. He is on his third day of dosage today and will need to complete the medication for five days. He is active and moving about, it was only for the special medication that he was admitted.”
The senior doctor said that he is in the COVID section and have been given a special room. “The decision was taken to keep him aloof from other patients, as other COVID patients have been trying to seek his advice and help inside the ward. People are forgetting that they are inside the COVID ward and need to maintain distance, but they come with a range of queries to the minister, to which he cannot lend his technical expertise at this time,” the doctor added.
Remedisivir was previously used in Ebola. It is an anti-viral injection given for five days. “The anti-viral may cost around Rs 6,000 but it was only recently approved by the ICMR for COVID usage. It was a trouble to retrieve the same but our finance and planning secretary VB Pathak was instrumental in procuring the medicine when another patient in STNM was in need of the same earlier,” said Dr CS Sharma asserting that STNM is providing global standard treatment to COVID patients.
Another patient needing Remdesivir
Similarly, the medicine was also administered to another COVID patient, identified as BM Pradhan from Rongli, who had made the headlines for coming in contact with RMD Minister Sonam Lama around mid-July. Since then, the condition of Pradhan has deteriorated, which has extended his stay in the hospital. He tested negative for COVID weeks ago, but it has been his lungs developing severe consolidation that he has had an extended stay, maintained the STNM officials.
“The case of Pradhan is one of the most severe so far. We had almost lost hope on him until a few medicines from outside the State could be brought. Many suspected him to not make it through, but through medicine and management, he has survived a case of his lungs collapsing. He is in Trauma ICU, he is there for chest physiotherapy and exercises. Now he has been cured and will be discharged in the next few days,” stated a senior doctor catering to Pradhan.
Pradhan was also administered another medicine Tocilizumab for Cytokine Storm which the patient had developed. “Tocilizumab is an IL6 inhibiting monoclonal antibody used to treat an autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. It is for severely ill COVID patients, the said medicine costs around Rs 48,000 and was hard to retrieve. All thanks to Secretary Pathak for aiding the State in procuring the same. At one point, Pradhan was in need of 14 liters of oxygen, which has now come down to two liters per minute. He was one of the most severe cases we had, despite turning negative, but we have cured him now,” said Dr Sharma.
Pradhan was treated under the supervision of Dr Suresh Rasaily (Medicine), Dr Sanjay Upreti (Cardiologist), and Dr Pankaj Pradhan (Anaesthetist) along with Chest Physiotherapist in Trauma ICU for the last one month.