Delhi doctor tele-consults with chronically ill Assam man on a boat after he is cut off by floods | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

Delhi doctor tele-consults with chronically ill Assam man on a boat after he is cut off by floods

By, New Delhi
Jul 30, 2020 11:54 PM IST

A man with severe liver cirrhosis (scarring due to chronic liver diseases), who was cut off from hospitals and cellphone network due to the recent floods in Assam, was given a tele-consultation by doctors from a city hospital after his wife and friend managed to get him on a boat and take him to an area with network coverage.

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The patient, Lalchand Biswas, who lives near Guwahati, was semi-conscious,had breathing difficulty and had a swollen abdomen two weeks ago. He was stuck in his house because of the floods and hadn’t been able to visit a doctor or get the medicines needed to stabilise his condition.

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“I work for an outreach programme under which I had examined the patient in February or March. I got a distress call from Biswas’s friend Mohfisur Rehman who informed me of his condition. I thought of giving him a tele-consultation immediately but he was in an area where there was no cellphone network. So Rehman arranged for a small boat and carried Biswas and his wife to a place where we could get reception,” said Dr Ushast Dhir, consultant, department of surgical gastroenterology and liver transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

He had hepatic encephalopathy – a decline in brain function as a result of severe liver disease leading to a build-up toxins in the blood stream, the doctor said.

“When we started the video call, I had to show Rahman how to do an abdomen examination. I was able to establish that he had severe disease and needed immediate treatment. I prescribed him medicines. The challenge was not only to get the medicines – as many hospitals and pharmacies were closed – but also to administer it,” said Dr Dhir.

As Rahman is a pharmacist, he was able to get the medicine within the hour. “He also knew how to administer the medicines and it was done on the boat itself. Biswas was monitored for six hours, with another dose of the medicine being given at a three-hour interval,” said Dr Dhir.

Currently, the hospital, through some philanthropic organisations, has been able to ensure supply medicines for a month to Biswas.

“What we are trying to do is to get help from various organisations to bring Biswas to Delhi for a liver transplant. That is the only option left as his disease has progressed,” he said.

The flood situation in Assam improved further on Thursday though one more person lost his life taking the toll to 108 in the calamity, an official bulletin said.

According to the daily flood report of Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) one person drowned in the flood water in Mikirbheta area of Morigaon district on Thursday taking the toll to 108.

The toll in the landslides triggered by the flood stood at 26 taking the total number of deaths to 134, it said.

The ASDMA reports said over 12.01 lakh people are in the grip of floods in Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Darrang, Baksa, Barpeta, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kamrup Metropolitan, Morigaon, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat, Majuli, Sivasagar and Dibrugarh districts.

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    Anonna Dutt is a health reporter at Hindustan Times. She reports on Delhi government’s health policies, hospitals in Delhi, and health-related feature stories.

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