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Covid-19: UAE doctors getting better at treating coronavirus patients

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Covid-19 patients now have a “greater” chance of survival compared to what it was six months ago, doctors in the UAE have revealed, as they explained how treatments have improved.

Though a spike in new cases has been observed, the UAE has also been reporting record-high recoveries in its recent daily Covid-19 tallies.

One of the doctors who are upbeat about beating the pandemic soon is Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director at RAK Hospital.”We are better equipped to manage the disease in a step by step manner and, as time passes, our healthcare systems – coupled with the robust support of our wise leadership – will eventually help us take down the virus.”

Initially, ventilators were believed to be the best way to save a critically ill Covid-19 patient, but the specialists later found that these were not enough, Dr Siddiqui said as he explained some new findings.

“It was thought that Covid death happens due to lung infection, called pneumonia but, with time, we found that the virus causes clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body and this causes the reduced oxygenation. Just providing oxygen by ventilator will not help, but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro clots in the lungs. This is why we are now using blood thinning drugs that prevent clotting as protocol in treatment regimens,” he said.

There were also cases when a patient would suddenly collapse because of a drop in oxygen levels, without any symptoms. “After seeing such cases, hospitals began monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid patients with a simple home-use pulse oxymeter. They advised them to rush to hospitals if their oxygen saturation drops to 93 per cent or less. This gives more time for doctors to correct the oxygen deficiency in the blood and a better survival chance,” Dr Siddiqui said.

International studies that compared the first and second phase of the pandemic confirmed that fatality rate has gone down in over 50 countries, another doctor said.

Dr Vikas Bhagat, critical care medicine specialist at Aster Hospital Mankhool, said: “Earlier we did not have drugs to fight the virus, we were only treating the complications caused by it and, hence, most patients became severely infected.

“Now, we have anti-virals that can prevent patients from becoming severely infected. More than that, the supportive care, timely presentation of the patient, better awareness, and getting diagnosed early have definitely helped.”

A few months ago, there were also fatalities that were attributed to the patients’ immune systems going overdrive, attacking other organs. Now, medics are also able to prevent this, Dr Bhagat said.

“We found that small doses of steroids from the beginning of the disease have helped prevent or control this cytokine storm in some patients, thereby lowering the complications and mortality rate,” he explained.

‘Stay positive but do not drop your guard – Covid war not yet over’

While medics and experts are seeing a silver lining amid the pandemic, they have also reiterated the warning: It’s not yet over.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director at RAK Hospital, said everyone must keep following all possible precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

“Avoid going to public places without a valid reason, wear your mask properly, and maintain a good hand hygiene,” he urged.

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