My seven-month old daughter began to choke on the noon of June 9 and turned blue. We rushed her to United hospital and were told that she has aspiration. We also found out later on the day that she had secretion in her lungs from pneumonia. You don’t need Doogie Howser MD to realize that since the Aspiration pneumonia's effects will probably stick for a while, the ventilator should not be removed at least till it subsides.
However, it was done on June 10. Initially, she had troubled breathing and then she reached "spontaneous breathing". We thought everything was well and we returned home. The next morning we went back to learn that after 13 hours she had an apnic attack and had to be put on the ventilator again.
The duty doctors and the consultants realized all of a sudden, that maybe the hypoxia/anoxia has hurt her brains and on the fourth day decided to do a CT scan on her. Please note, the fourth day.
This bright idea did not come to them on the first or the second day. So, we were ready for the CT scan but we soon learned that it won't happen that day because there was something wrong with the scanner. My friend Tanim was pissed and he wrote a nasty status update on the day which caught the eyes of someone who happens to be a partner of the board that owns United. He was sincere and tried to help. Finally we found out that the CT scanner is working. But since the AC isn't working the doctors do not want to administer the scanning.
So it happened the next day.
But even before the CT scan the doctors were literally banging on the tables saying my daughter had global development delay and that she has cerebral palsy and even if she survives, she will have a disability for the rest of her life. I was ready to live with my daughter in anyway she was. But the really informed doctors, who seemed to be even more informed then GOD Himself, were still trying to tell us that we are not thinking about the Quality of life she might have. Rather than her survival we should think about this.....YES, these are doctors we are talking about. So I basically counted on ALLAH.
Finally the CT scan mentioned three things, all of which basically meant that my daughter is a goner. I'd no confidence in these doctors and so I went to Apollo for second opinions and also sought the help of other neuro surgeons from DMCH and so on. These doctors initially after seeing the reports said that, yes her case is critical. However, when two of them actually came to the hospital to examine her they reverted their stance and said there is still hope because she was responding to painful stimuli and even trying to take off the vent pipe when she was not sedated. One of the neurosurgeons prescribed a steroid which he said should have been given to her. This was the fifth or sixth day and already before he arrived, my daughter had two cardiac arrests when the duty doctors tried to bring down the Fractional Oxygen setting from 80% to 70%. As soon as the steroid was given, they were able to bring the setting down to 50%. Question to United lovers: Why couldnt the doctors, the bright Selim Shakur and the oh-so-learned Nargis Ara not give these steroids to her on the first day?
Moving on, Dr Narayan Saha of DMCH came in and said that weaning her off the ventilator should be the prime concern now and it can be done. All this while, the doctors at United told me it's because of her secretion that she cannot be weaned off. A week later when I called Dr Narayan again he tells me 'Ask them to decrease the secretion'. I was dumbfounded and told him that there is no such drug. He said, 'Key bolsey. Glycopyrrolate ditey bolen. Apollo r pharmacy tei pawa jai.' Now any normal human being would think that maybe, just maybe, the doctors at United did not know about this. But they did! Dr Narayan had prescribed the same drug for another patient earlier. Mind you, this is the third week and my daughter has been pricked thousands of times already. Her veins are becoming hard to find. I find Glycopyrollate by myself from Apollo. All by myself...no help from the United doctors. I give it to them on the 25th of June. They start giving it on 25th night. Selim Shakur tells me the next day that they'll start it from the next day. The duty doctor tells me they started it the previous night. What co-ordination!
Also, since my daughter has a lung problem and the Pediatric doctors are claiming that she has a neuro problem, should they not have contacted their specialists in these fields? We, the family, had to request them to do so. It's a very bureaucratic organisation, you see. They have to be told things!
Finally, on June 28, Selim Shakur tells us that there is some hope. Her secretion is clearing out. However, he is leaving for USA the next day. So, Nargis Ara, will look after her while he is gone. On June 29, she is apparently getting better. We are feeling better also. On the night of June 30, the Pediatric ICU doctors call us at 2:45 to tell us she had her second cardiac arrest and could not be revived.
Now you tell me, ALLAH hayat disen. Being a devout muslim, I accept that and I accept her leaving us. But being a journalist, I ask each and every single one of you, 'amar chotto meye ta ei type er bejonma doctors aar hospital staff er birudhhe kotokhon lorto?'
Final question to everyone: If the glycopyrrolate was given to her on the second or third day, could the outcome not have been better? What if she was given steroids on the first week and not on the second or third week? They could not find her veins to push the IV saline and other medications a day before she had the cardiac arrest.
Even when we were taking her body out of that hellhole, the doctors wrote she had septicimia, that she died at 3:30am and made other mistakes.
My Afsheen died with a smile on her face. And I am not making this up. She actually did have a smile on her face. As a parent I was glad she did not have to go through the torture anymore. She would have turned eight months on June 30, the day she passed away.
I know my daughter is better off dead than leaving in this Godforsaken country where hospitals like United can easily manipulate the dailies and the ministers to get their way. I am happy for my daughter. However, as a parent and a journalist, I feel I should share my ordeal with everyone. Maybe, just maybe it will save some people from making the biggest mistake of their lives.
Taken from journalist Syed Tashfeen Chowdhury's facebook note