Victim off ventilator, sepsis sets in

Five days after her brutal gangrape, the 23-year-old paramedical student was taken off ventilator support on Friday, but she showed early signs of infection setting in, as government vowed to file the chargesheet in the case ‘quickly’ and seek maximum punishment of life term for the six accused.

‘She has shown mixed response. She is breathing spontaneously on her own at the moment,’ Dr B D Athani, Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, told a press conference. On the deterioration in the girl’s health, Athani said the level of bilirubin, the yellow breakdown product of normal heme catabolism, has increased to five, which is a cause of concern.

‘Infection seems to be setting in. These are early signs of sepsis. That is a part of the blood culture and several other. We have sent blood for test,’  he said.

To fight the infection, doctors are administering antibiotics and maintaining the highest levels of hygiene in her ward. Dr Athani requested members of the public to try and not visit the victim’s ward.

The girl began speaking to doctors when she asked for a glass of water and expressed her desire to meet her mother, who has been in and out of Safdarjung Hospital. Doctors said she was ‘conscious’, able to speak and breathe on her own while noting that her respiratory rate, pulse rate and urine output were normal.

Athani said the trials to take the patient off ventilator began at 12.30 pm on Thursday, and she was breathing without the help of the machine till 2 am and from early morning till 3.30 pm this evening she was ‘off ventilator’.  Her white blood cells count has also dropped to 1,500, which means her immunity is going down. She is still on parental nutrition. Dr Mishra and Aggarwal from AIIMS also joined to provide assistance and advice.

As of now, there is no medical centre in the country that has the facility for small intestine donation. There are only two or three specialised centers across the world, including the one in the US. But even there the success rate of this particular transplant of the transplant has low.
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