Monday, June 29, 2015

Death by krait bite


Last Wednesday, early morning, at around 6:30 am, we had a patient wheeled in with a krait bite. Our JD, Dr. Krupa had her intubated in no time and Anti-Snake Venom was flowing into her veins in no time. 

However, as similar to many krait bites, she was taking her own sweet time to come out of ventilatory support. She had already received 10 vials of ASV. Then, ASV was still going into her veins even today. 

She was however not an easy patient. For some reason, we could not sedate her well. Midazolam and Haloperidol are the only sedatives that we use here. From Saturday morning, she was insisting on being extubated. In fact, we extubated her twice over the last 36 hours. But, she could not breathe even with the endotracheal tube inside. 

I saw her last alive at around 5:30 today (Sunday, the 28th June). I tried to wean her out of the mechanical ventilation (being given manually as our ventilator has malfunctioned). She went into desaturation. 

I received a call at around 11:30 pm today (Sunday, the 28th June) that she had stopped breathing. Our JD on call, Dr. Ao was already there trying to revive her. It was obvious what has happened. She had developed surgical emphysema. Most probably, she had developed a pneumothorax or her endotracheal tube developed a perforation in the trachea. It was too late. Her pupils were already dilated and fixed. 

If I remember, this was the second patient I encountered in my career who developed a surgical emphysema during mechanical ventilation and died. The first one who was a snake bite victim. 

I agree that our ventilation facilities are lower than the optimum for state of the art care of such patients. But then, we cannot afford high end ventilators where we transfer costs to the patients. 

Another note on this lady. On Saturday morning, the relatives had come saying that they cannot afford any more treatment. We agreed to cap the bill to 15,000 INR whatever be the costs involved. When I told that, their bills had already reached about 20,000 INR and they had paid only 9000 INR. They told us that the for the rest of the 6000 INR, they would have to borrow money. 

It was because they had come to us that the costs were so low. 

We lost our first patient of the season who came to us with snake bite. 

It is a major blow to our morale. We should not have lost her. He family had brought her within 4 hours of the bite which happened while she was sleeping. They had taken her to two witch doctors before bringing her here. 

Pray that the family would be able to bear the loss . . . 

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