Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: In the intense fight against the Covid pandemic, one of the most vital life-saving asset that has come to the rescue of people is ECMO - Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation machine.

The advanced treatment with ECMO which can cost around Rs 2 lakh per day is generally used on a critical patient when his/her body fails to respond to almost all types of oxygenation support in the wake of serious lung infection and pneumonia like the one induced by the SARS-CoV-2 and especially when both heart also does not function well.

But its administation depends a lot on the health condition of the patient and the type of response he or she is showing to the treatment. If oxygen supplied to the lungs from outside fails, ventilator is unable to exhale out the carbon dioxide from the body or the heart fails in pumping enough blood to all parts of the body, doctors resort to use ECMO on a patient as the last ditch attempt to restore organ functioning. 

Unfortunately, barring two private hospitals, no other State-run hospitals in Odisha has ECMO facility. This apart, there is a huge shortage of adequate trained manpower having operational know-how on the machine, said State Health Director.

Enquire about the lack of such modern healthcare facility in the government medicals, the Health Director however assured that Odisha government is planning to install the vital machine in the State-run hospitals. DMET CBK Mohanty has also informed that the State authorities have already initiated preparations for setting up 6 ECMO machines in Cardiothorasis department of the Cuttack SCB Medical College and Hospital.     

The importance of the ECMO machine does not need much mention especially when it has helped save so many people all around the globe in this moment of crisis. Lack of this machine in Odisha has become a hot topic in the State in the last few weeks especially after the death of former MLA Naveen Nanda's son Sambit

A few weeks ago, Sambit succumbed to serious lung infection after getting contracted with Covid-19. His father made a desperate plea to the State government to save his son's life by facilitating ECMO support because the hospital where he was undergoing treatment lacked the facility. But despite attempts, the hospital and the administration could not provide the much-needed treatment to the legislator's son. 

Recently, the case of Amrit Pradhan has become another point of debate. A young engineer from Berhampur, Amrit who was tested Covid positive also needed ECMO support for his treatment because of serious lung collapse. But after failing to get proper treatment, his family have now airlifted him to Chennai Appollo Hospitals for a lung transplantation. As the entire procedure will take around Rs 2 crore, Amrit's family have started a massive crowd funding.

The situation of Ramesh Sahu, a resident of Bhanjanagar area in Ganjam is also same. In order to provide better treatment, his family has also shifted him to Kolkata in an air ambulance after arranging around Rs 50 lakh from various sources.