Suryakant “Suri” Nathwani, an 81-year-old COVID-19 patient, made an incredible recovery under the care of his son after he was sent home by a London hospital.
Watford General Hospital reportedly told the patient’s family that due to his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he would not be able to handle ventilation in the hospital should his condition worsen.
Suri was ready to give up hope and even pleaded to his 55-year-old son Raj Nathwani that he just be allowed to die at their home. “Please promise me one thing: If I’m going to go, I’m going to go here. Do not take me back there,” Suri told his son Raj.
Despite his father’s not too promising chance at survival, Raj decided to keep on fighting for him, CNN noted.
Prior to his father’s diagnosis, Raj had been researching as much information as he could about the novel coronavirus.
Since news about the pandemic emerged in January, Raj observed its quick spread, how the elderly were the most vulnerable, and how Italy struggled to “make home visits.”
Due to Suri’s age and health condition upon contracting COVID-19, even their family doctor, general practitioner Dr. Bharat Thacker was convinced he would not survive the illness.
Meanwhile, Raj kept his confidence that his father would be able to get better. “You’re not going to die. We’re going to look after you here,” he told his father when he took him home.
While the use of ventilators can often save lives, health experts have pointed out that recovery is not guaranteed for older patients even if they get admitted into intensive care.
Despite risks of infection in their household, Raj made the decision to bring his father home and exert all efforts on making it comfortable for him. He cleaned the house, isolated his mother on the ground floor, and turned his parents’ bedroom on the first floor into a “makeshift hospital ward.”
Over the next few days, Raj relied mostly on collecting and analyzing data. As an analytics specialist, he “created a Google spreadsheet to help track his father’s temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation readings,” where vitals can be “measured with a common thermometer, blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter.”
Raj’s family members including his brother, Manish, and his sons, were able to check in on Suri with the help of an iPad and baby monitor app set up in his room.
Raj also sought advice from a general practice doctor, who helped in ensuring Suri got proper hydration and checked the spreadsheet for Suri’s daily condition.
According to Raj, treating his father was made easier because their home was already equipped with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, previously used for Suri’s sleep apnea.
Three days after returning from the hospital, Suri’s condition appeared to have worsened with delirium and trouble eating. He felt as if he was close to his end. Convinced that this was caused by the lack of oxygen in the brain, Raj used the CPAP machine.
Suri’s doctor recommended antibiotics to treat a secondary lung infection he had developed. Suri also advised doing prone positioning or lying on his stomach for a number of hours a day. Such positioning reportedly aids patients to increase the amount of oxygen they can get into their lungs.
It did not take long before Suri began showing signs of recovery, even beginning to nag at his son on occasion.
“He began whingeing and said his tea was badly made. He then asked for some pizza and chips,” Raj said.
With Raj’s continued care, Suri showed more progress and made a complete recovery by the end of April. Raj would later attribute his father’s full recovery to the help and support he received from his family, loved ones and Suri’s doctor.
“We truly had an action and ‘go-to’ team on tap that I trusted,” Raj shared.
Feature Image Courtesy of Raj Nathwani