Indian expat with failed lungs wins battle for life

Indian expat with failed lungs wins battle for life

The patient fought for life on the ventilator after his lungs failed due to an excessive build-up of fluid in the organ.  

Dubai: An Indian expat in the UAE with failed lungs has bounced back to life after struggling for it on a ventilator for over a week here at a private hospital. The lungs of the 56-year-old had failed after excessive fluid build-up inside the organ due to severe pneumonia. 

For G S Sanil Kumar, who works at Dubai International Airport, it started with a cough followed by the onset of fever. He took medicines, but the fever did not subside. 

In four days, his condition worsened. “I could not breathe. I even found it difficult to speak. Somehow, I managed to telephone my cousins. They came and rushed me to Aster Hospital, Qusais,” recalled Kumar. 

He reported to the emergency department in a semi-conscious state with high-grade fever and shortness of breath. 

The medical team quickly ran a series of tests and diagnosed him with severe pneumonia. A CT scan revealed his lungs filled with excess fluid, said Dr. Mohammed Shafeeq, a specialist pulmonologist at Aster Hospital, Qusais. 

The team swiftly shifted him to the ICU and put him on high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen therapy to ease his breathing difficulty. 

“We started antibiotics and other supporting medications on Kumar. He had diabetes as well. We observed him for 24 hours in the ICU. But he showed no signs of improvement. Rather his health deteriorated, and his oxygen saturation was falling,” added Dr. Shafeeq.

According to the doctor, Sunil’s respiratory system had failed. His lungs were not about to carry enough oxygen to the body. 

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

“He had acute respiratory distress syndrome triggered by severe pneumonia. In these cases, if the patient does not respond well to treatment, it is difficult to revive him. I informed the family about his condition and took their consent to shift him onto a ventilator,” said Dr. Chaitanya Prakash Prabhu, specialist critical care at Aster Hospital, Qusais, who intubated Kumar and treated him in the ICU.

More than a week on the ventilator

Despite transferring him onto mechanical ventilation, it took a few days for Kumar to show some progress in his condition. 

“Sunil was on mechanical ventilation for eight days. Even after this, Kumar required oxygen support. Gradually, we slowed down the supply of oxygen while monitoring his body oxygen saturation. Finally, he could breathe without difficulty,” said Dr. Shafeeq.

According to the doctor, it is always heartening to see a patient recover. But cases such as Sunil’s brings a sense of purpose and joy.

Felicitates doctors and medical team

After his discharge, Kumar said he is grateful to Dr. Shafeeq, Dr. Chaitanya, and the medical team for saving his life. “I would not have come back to life without them. I would be indebted to them for my lifetime,” he added. 

He did not forget to felicitate the doctors and the clinical team who cared for him at the hospital. He presented everybody with a memento as a token of gratitude.


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