New Delhi: Dr Asheem Gupta, a senior consultant of anesthetics in New Delhi’s Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital, died Sunday morning, days after he tested positive for Covid-19.
Dr Asheem, 55, had been serving in the hospital’s Intensive Care Units after LNJP was declared a Covid-19 facility on 17 March. His wife, Dr Nirupama Gupta, a radiologist working in Ghaziabad, had also contracted the virus but recovered some days ago.
The couple has two sons. One of them is in Australia and was unable to attend his funeral Sunday afternoon.
“He got a test done after he suffered from breathlessness. On 8 June, his test result came back as positive. He was admitted to LNJP’s ICU before being moved to the Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket,” Dr Suresh Kumar, medical superintendent of LNJP, told ThePrint.
According to an official statement by the LNJP Hospital, Gupta was a “frontline Anesthesia Specialist who contracted COVID-19 infection while on duty”.
“He tested positive on 3.6.2020 when he had mild symptoms and was shifted to quarantine facility. His symptoms aggravated on 7.6.2020 and he was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit at Lok Nayak Hospital. He was shifted to Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket on 8.6.2020 at his request,” noted the statement.
A family member, who did not wish to be named, said Dr Asheem had isolated himself for three days but his oxygen levels soon dropped and he had to be shifted to the LNJP Hospital. He was later transferred to the Max Super Specialty Hospital.
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The family member also said Dr Asheem’s condition had initially improved and they were hopeful of his recovery, but he developed a pulmonary embolism Friday.
“The embolism caused swelling in his legs and his oxygen levels dropped further,” said the family member.
Dr Rajeev Rajput, a cardiologist with the Apollo Hospital who had known Gupta for 38 years, said the latter was fine on the first two days after being admitted to hospital.
“He spoke with us without any problems on day one and two. But his condition started to deteriorate soon. He was given plasma therapy and Remdesivir. But it didn’t help. On Friday, he was put on a non-invasive ventilator, but his condition kept deteriorating further,” said Rajput.
A ‘lively’ doctor
Dr Gupta did his graduation and post-graduation from the King George’s Medical University in Lucknow.
Dr Anil Goyal, a Delhi-based urologist and member of the Delhi Medical Council who had known Dr Asheem since college, said, “I am still in shock as we were hopeful he will be discharged soon. I was receiving updates morning and evening every day.”
He added, “Dr Asheem was great at maintaining relationship with his seniors and juniors. He had been popular right from his college days.”
Both Dr Goyal and Dr Rajput remembered the anesthetist as a “lively” man and a dedicated doctor who would go out of his way to help patients.
Dr J.C. Passey, former director of the LNJP Hospital, also recalled Dr Asheem as the “most social doctor and human being”.
“I knew him for 25 years and he had this innate quality of social networking. He was among the rare anesthetists who got along with surgeons in the hospital,” Dr Passey said.
He also recalled assigning all sports-related injuries to Dr Asheem. “He was passionate about sports, which a lot of people didn’t know, and had also coordinated several events at the LNJP Hospital,” said Dr Passey.
A ward boy at the LNJP Hospital, who didn’t wish to be named, told ThePrint, “Dr Asheem went out of his way to help people. Be it rich or poor. When many weren’t able to afford costs of ventilators, he had helped them, as he did for two ward boys here.”
One of many to succumb
Gupta’s demise follows that of several other healthcare staff who had served on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the LNJP Hospital itself, Gupta is the fifth person to die, after two healthcare workers, one lab technician and one staff member succumbed to Covid-19. The hospital has so far reported 72 of its members as Covid-19 positive, it said in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on 16 June.
According to reports, over 1,200 medical staff across Delhi have tested positive for Covid-19 since March.
The copy has been updated to include LNJP Hospital’s official statement.
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