COVID-19: GMC’s expert treatment cures British tourist

Government Medical college Ernakulam staff with british tourist

Kerala’s healthcare system has always enjoyed an exalted status on India’s tourism map. Medical tourism and ayurveda have been two stellar hotspots attached to the Kerala tourism brand and it’s probably fair to say that the state’s fame as a healthcare destination has gone beyond national boundaries.

In yet another story that showcases Kerala’s distinct medical advantage, the Government Medical College (GMC) Ernakulam has been able to treat a British tourist and cure him of the dreaded corona virus. Brian Neil, a 57-year-old British national, who was admitted with severe COVID-19 pneumonia symptoms on March 15 has been discharged from hospital after weeks of intense care and treatment by a battery of medical experts.

Brian Neil had disembarked from his onward journey to UK at Nedumbassery International airport, after he showed COVID-19 symptoms. He was admitted at GMC along with his wife Jane Lockwood who was later discharged as her repeated samples were tested negative for COVID-19.

In the special COVID-19 ICU, Brian’s condition became critical with progressive reduction in oxygen levels leading to respiratory failure. He needed continuous oxygen administration and was promptly started on antiviral cocktails along with Hydroxy-chloroquine and Azithromycin. Meanwhile he needed ventilatory support with non-vented mask interphase ventilation through the ICU Ventilator with viral filter at the expiratory port. After three days of starting antivirals his general condition began to improve, though he continued to have unremitting fever.

The repeat x-ray had showed further worsening to involve the entire left lung and a new onset infiltrate in the right lower lung field. During this period his oxygenation was maintained with interphase non-vented mask ventilatory support and antivirals. By about seventh day of starting antivirals his fever subsided and x-ray also showed radiological improvement. With the antiviral treatment his two samples turned out to be negative for COVID- 19.

He underwent a series of investigations during his hospital stay which included CT, blood examinations to monitor Cytokine Storm Syndrome. He was provided daily psychological support by a psychiatry team. Since the last five days Brian has been off oxygen and he is maintaining normal saturation of 97% at room air and his x-ray has shown near complete resolution.

At GMC, he was treated by a multidisciplinary team headed by Professor Dr. Fathahudeen, Professor Dr. Jacob K Jacob, Dr. Ganesh Mohan, Dr. Geetha Nair, Dr. Vidhukumar, Dr. Vibha Santhosh and Dr Renimol under the supervision of principal Dr Thomas Mathew.

The sample collection and maintenance team headed by Dr.Lancy along with Dr.Neethu , Dr. Nikhilesh Menon and Dr.Manoj had played a pivotal role in this entire process. The Community Medicine team comprising Dr. Bindhu and Dr. Alwin had played a very important role in contact tracing headed by Professor Dr. Manjula. He was provided state of the art nursing care by the nursing team led by Nursing Superintendent Santy Augustine.

The hospital administration of GMC, Ernakulam, has expressed gratitude to K.K Shylaja, Minister Of Health and Family Welfare, Social Justice and Women and Child Development for her whole-hearted support and round the clock monitoring of the patient’s condition by providing assistance to the institutional treatment team. The institution is indebted to Dr. Rajan N Khobragade, Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare and the State Medical Board for allowing the use of antiviral medicines for Brian on compassionate grounds.

GMC acknowledged the contribution of Jane Lockwood, wife of Brian, who showed immense faith in the doctors. Brian’s survival story is a tribute to the great team spirit and clinical ethos practised in this institution during these hard times of fighting a global pandemic, the hospital remarked.