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Dr. Srinivas Rao and his team of doctors who save Anu Mohanan. Anu is seen with his wife. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It’s now established fact individual response to COVID-19 are very specific. Take the case of an Indian expatriate from Sharjah, Anu Mohanan, 38, who continued to test negative for the first 14 days of his illness, yet had a progressively deteriotating condition, displaying classic COVID symptoms.

Doctors treating him were baffled as despite no co-morbdities an being in the younger age group he remained critical and in intensive care, spiritedly battling the disease for 40 days.

He was admitted as a critical patient with highest risk to life on April 28 and got discharged on June 6 after spending 40 days at NMC Speciality Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai, with nearly half of the time spent in critical care.

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Anu Moahnan with his wife and the caregivers Image Credit: Supplied

Doctors at NMC Speciality Hospital, Dubai where Mohanan was admitted surmised that the infection was passed on to him through his wife Smitha, a staff nurse at the hospital.

However, Smitha was not on COVID-19 duty and contact tracing could not establish how she caught the virus. Eventually the couple’s 4-year-old daughter too tested postive. While mother and daughter were admitted to hospital for a week and remained largely asymptomatic with brief loss of smell, yet recovered soon, Mohanan’s condition took a turn for the worse after the first week.

“Once the virus infects the epithelial cells, which starts in the nostrils, the nerve endings get damaged. And once the nerve endings are damaged, they cannot smell anything,” explained Dr. Srinivas Roa, Specialist Internal Medicine at NMC Speciality Hospital, Dubai who was treating the couple.

Recounting his experience Mohannan said, “On April 24 I developed fever with no other symptom. The next day I went to the hospital and by then a mild cough that I had, had also appeared. My chest X-Ray revealed some infection and the COVID-19 test was done. The result that came out on April 27 was negative but owing to symptoms, I got admitted on April 28.”

Mohannan a Sharjah resident for 13 years hailing from the Indian state of Kerala could not understand how he was testing negative for 12 days after the first symptoms: “For the next 12 days, until May 9, my results kept coming negative while the symptoms of cough, fever and tiredness kept increasing in severity. I had to be taken to the ICU on May 9 and was put on a ventilator under sedation and I stayed in the ICU for another fortnight or so.”

While on ventilator under deep sedation Mohannan suffered a severe heart attack. Under sedation he recalls hearing the the nurses and doctors calling out his name to wake him up. “I wanted to say yes I am here, but couldn’t speak,” he recounted.

Eventually the dark clouds cleared and he was weaned off the ventialor and after a month and 10 days discharged from hopsital.

“I am extremely grateful to the doctors and nurses at NMC Hospital and the quality of care extended to me,” said a grateful Mohanan.

Dr Srinivas Rao –said, “Mohanan was a severe critical Covid patient – a highest risk category Covid patient. The infection was serious, and a constant monitoring of the vital parameters required a constant watch. The interesting part is that he suffered from no co-morbid conditions such as diabetes or hypertension or any history of smoking that could have put him at high risk. He remained negative for about 15 days while his symptoms kept mounting all the time. It is generally the other way around.”

Recuperating from the virus at his home in Sharjah with his family for a month now, Mohanan plans to join his duties in a month’s time.