A 26-year-old woman with severe Covid pneumonia, managed to successfully deliver Covid-free twins at a Dubai hospital.
Filipina Mariecen Nituma Agillon was 31 weeks pregnant when she started experiencing Covid symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. As the symptoms got worse, Agillon started getting nervous and worried as this was her first pregnancy.
She rushed to NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai where she tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to the isolation ward of the hospital for treatment. Her husband, Kenneth Zamora, also tested positive around the same time and was admitted into the quarantine centre of the Dubai Health Authority.
At the time of admission, the doctors gave her seven litres of oxygen to maintain her blood oxygen levels. Blood tests indicated high infection and inflammation, and a chest x-ray — with proper lead shield precaution to minimise radiation exposure to the unborn children - showed pneumonia on both sides.
Tests Covid positive again
Dr Rakesh Sankar, head of the department and specialist physician at NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai said: “Pregnancy can lead to complications in Covid-19, and in this case, more so since this was a pre-term twin pregnancy. In addition to Covid pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, other complications encountered during her treatment incuded severe anaemia requiring blood transfusion, bacterial pneumonia with sepsis, and high heart rate (150-160bpm) suggestive of thyroid condition.”
After spending two days in the intensive care unit of the hospital, and a total of nine days in the hospital, manned by a team of specialists from the departments of internal medicine, obstetrician and gynaecologist and intensive care, Agillone was finally discharged after obtaining a negative PCR test. However, she was readmitted the very next day for premature labour, and shockingly she tested Covid-positive yet again.
Dr Praveena Saraf, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at the hospital said: “Twin pregnancy in general is considered high risk and can lead to preterm delivery. While Agillone was weighing just around 50kgs, the Covid infection increased her risk of a preterm delivery.”
An emergency C-section was successfully performed by Dr Saraf and Agillone delivered two pre-term 32-week-old baby girls, weighing 1.4kg and 1.6kg respectively. Following intensive care and precautions taken to keep the babies safe, they tested negative for Covid-19, even when their mother was positive.
Karvendhan Ramasamy, specialist neonatologist at the hospital, said they encouraged Agillon to breastfeed her newborns. “Although the mother was Covid positive, her breast milk was pumped out and given to the babies from day one. We could still use her breast milk as it’s safe for Covid-19 positive mothers to breastfeed their babies,” Ramasamy said.
Since both Agillon and her husband were Covid positive, their premature babies were managed at the NICU of the hospital and finally discharged after two weeks.
Expressing her happiness and gratitude to the hospital, Agillon said: “During these difficult times, a positive experience and outcome was achieved by the dedicated teamwork of all the doctors. Me and my husband could only pray, but it seems God answered our prayers through these doctors.”
Agillon and her babies were discharged two weeks after the delivery date.
Michael Brenden Davis, CEO of NMC Healthcare, said: “The safe delivery of twin babies proves that life can go on with proper medical care despite the pandemic. What’s most encouraging is the fact that her twins remained Covid-negative. I am grateful to our doctors and nurses who deliver such miracles time and again.”
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