A 24-year-old software engineer of Odisha who developed pneumonia and septicaemia in the lungs after testing positive for Covid last month was flown to Chennai on Thursday evening in an air ambulance after his family and friends were able to raise ₹60 lakh for his treatment. He needs a lung transplant that will cost them ₹1.2 crore.
Amrit Pradhan, a software engineer from Berhampur town of Odisha, was wheeled into an air ambulance of Chennai’s Apollo Hospital waiting at Bhubaneswar airport after the city police created a green corridor for the 10 km stretch from AIIMS Bhubaneswar.
“The Apollo Hospital team had brought an Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation(ECMO) machine which would keep him alive till he gets a lung transplant,” said Chidanand Tarei, his brother-in-law. An ECMO pumps his blood to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back to tissues in the body, bypassing the heart and the lungs.
Doctors at AIIMS-Bhubaneswar told his family that the entire treatment including a lung transplant and 2-month long hospitalisation would cost ₹1.2 crore.
“For a middle class family like us with health insurance, the maximum cover that we have is ₹10 lakh. We had lost all hopes when we decided to appeal on social media as well as fundraising site Milaap. By Thursday evening, we had collected ₹60 lakh from 5,400 people. The amount of support and love that Amrit received was incredible,” Amrit Pradhan’s brother-in-law Tarei said.
The ECMO supported air ambulance alone costs Rs. 30-40 lakh. “We are hoping to achieve the ₹1.2 crore figure that we aimed at,” said Tarei, who will fly to Chennai with his wife on Friday.
Techie aspiring to be civil servant
Pradhan, described by his family as a happy go-lucky man, had taken up a job as a software engineer in a Bangalore-based IT firm after passing out from a premier engineering college in Bhubaneswar. During the pandemic, he left his job and started preparing for the civil services.
However, his life was disrupted after his 56-year-old mother was hospitalised due to Covid. Some time later, his father, a retired banker, also tested positive and was hospitalised. And then, Amrit Pradhan and his sister Manisha, who had been running around for their parents to arrange medicines, also tested positive for Covid.
Amrit tested positive for Covid
Everyone else in the family recovered, not the 24-year-old. Doctors said he had developed pneumonia and septicaemia in the lungs.
Amrit Pradhan was initially admitted to a private hospital but as his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar on May 2. He was initially put on NIV non-invasive ventilation support and for the last 20 days, has been on ventilator support.
“Around May 24, doctors at AIIMS advised us that my brother-in-law would need to be admitted to a hospital having facility for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support and lung transplantation which is not available in Odisha,” said Tarei.
Tarei said the spirit of camaraderie that he saw for Amrit’s treatment amid the Covid pandemic was moving. “We are too overwhelmed with the response that we received from unknown quarters. My brother-in-law will surely come out of the hospital with a new lungs and a rejuvenated life,” he said.