Nitaidas Mukherjee, a 52-year-old resident of south Kolkata who trumped Covid-19 after being on a ventilator for 38 days, returned home to a hero’s welcome by his neighbours earlier this week.
Doctors said that it was a remarkable feat by the hospital authorities and nothing less than a miracle, because a Covid-19 patient remaining on a ventilator for so long has little chance of survival.
“I thank the hospital and the team of doctors who gave me a new life. This is my second life, you can say. Without them, I would have been dead by now. They are the actual heroes,” said Mukherjee who returned home on Monday. He has become so weak, that he could hardly speak over the phone.
It was in mid-March that Mukherjee – who had suffered a bout of pneumonia in 2017 – developed a severe cough and cold. His family thought that it was the mere return of an ailment that afflicts him frequently. Later he developed fever.
“We didn’t have any travel history. But as the symptoms were matching with Covid-19, we decided to take him to a private hospital on March 29. As his condition deteriorated, he was put on a ventilator the same night. The next day, his test results showed positive and his battle with death began,” said Aparajita Mukherjee, Nitaidas’ wife.
As his condition worsened, doctors performed a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to make an incision on the throat and create a direct airway through another incision in the trachea.
“Doctors had told me that his condition was extremely precarious. But they never lost hope and continued to fight. I was not sure whether I would be able to see him ever again and prayed to God. He is a social worker and runs a NGO. I believe that the prayers of all those he had helped in the past, worked and helped him to survive,” Aparajita said.
In a statement, the hospital said: “He has created a record of sorts in India by being the first patient of Covid-19 to have defeated the virus despite being on ventilator for 38 days.”
“This is indeed a remarkable feat. Staying on ventilation and then returning home is something uncommon,” said Sukumar Mukherjee, one of the doctors on the advisory panel set up by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.