Till a few months ago, State did not have an ECMO facility; critically ill COVID-19 patients had to be air-lifted out
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday inaugurated nine extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, which support the lungs or heart of critically ill patients and allow the organs to recover, in the government-run SCB Medical College Hospital, Cuttack.
The nine ECMO machines constitute the largest ECMO unit in eastern India. “The ECMO plays a life-saving role for critical COVID-19 patients. Seriously ill COVID-19 patients of Odisha will no longer be required to go outside to avail this treatment,” Mr. Patnaik said.
He added, “Highly qualified doctors and professionals have been engaged to operate these units. ECMO treatment is very expensive but the State government will make the treatment available free of cost. People will not have to bear any cost for this.”
“The memory of the second wave is very painful. Though lockdown restrictions have been eased, the danger still persists. We have to remain cautious to face the third wave,” said Odisha CM.
“According to experts, children are likely to be affected the most in the third wave. To protect children, we need to follow COVID-19 guidelines as strictly as possible. I request all to continue wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining physical distance,” Mr. Patnaik exhorted.
A few months ago, Odisha did not have ECMO facility. Many critical COVID-19 patients had to be air-lifted to centres like Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata as a last-ditched effort to save their lives.
Former Director General of Police (Vigilance) Debasish Panigrahi, who was on ECMO support in Kolkata following COVID-19, died. Former Odisha Youth Congress president Sangram Keshari Jena passed away recently after remaining on ECMO support for months in Hyderabad. Many crowd-funding campaigns were launched to financially assist critical patients belonging to lower and middle income group patients.
Recently, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar procured two ECMO facilities. According to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar sources, the two ECMO facilities are functional, but not occupied. The facilities have adequate support staff.
The State government had assured that it is prepared to face a possible third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has approved ₹790 crore as part of its preparedness plans.
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