Jamaica Hospital’s doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have provided life-saving care to thousands of patients with the coronavirus since the onset of the outbreak. As a team, they have overcome several obstacles but when they were confronted with saving the life of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, the challenge became that much greater.
On March 24, Mrs. Tasnim Shaheen was 24 weeks pregnant with her third child when she was taken to the Queens-based hospital, located at the epicenter of the global pandemic with flu-like symptoms. She was initially admitted to the hospital’s labor unit for coronavirus, but within two days, her symptoms intensified and she was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator.
The ICU team closely monitored her condition over the next few weeks but became increasingly concerned as Mrs. Shaheen developed acute kidney injuries as well as pneumonia. The doctors determined that it was in the best interest of the patient and her unborn child if they performed a C-section. “At this point, Mrs. Shaheen was 28 weeks pregnant and we felt as if the baby had a good chance of survival if we delivered,” stated Dr. Kavitha Ram, Director of Obstetrics at Jamaica Hospital. “In addition, we felt that removing the fetus would give Mrs. Shaneen a better opportunity to resolve her kidney issues as well as her pneumonia.”
After consulting with the patient’s husband, the decision was made to perform the surgery on April 22nd. The patient was taken directly from the intensive care unit to the operating room where Dr. Ram and her team delivered a 940 gram (approximately 2 lb.) baby girl, the couple’s first daughter. According to Dr. Ram, “The baby came out kicking and screaming and was very healthy.” The baby was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and mom returned to intensive care.
Soon after the delivery, Mrs. Shaheen began showing signs of improvement. Within two days her kidneys began to recover, within three days she was taken off of the ventilator and after five days she was moved out of intensive care and back to the labor unit.
One of the factors that Dr. Ram attributes to Mrs. Shaheen’s recovery was the hospital’s ability to connect her to her family despite not being able to see them due to visitation restrictions. “Throughout the entire admission, our Palliative Care team did an excellent job of communicating with the patient’s family through video conferencing. Mr. Shaheen had daily contact with his wife even when she was on a ventilator, which allowed him to be involved in her care.” Dr. Ram added, “When Mrs. Shaheen was eventually taken off the ventilator, she was able to not only see and speak with her husband and sons, but also her extended family in Bangladesh. We feel this greatly contributed to her recovery.”
Perhaps the greatest moment, however, was when Jamaica Hospital was able to connect Mrs. Shaheen from her hospital bed to her baby girl, Reeda Birt Shaheen in the NICU. ‘We were overjoyed to be able to provide her with the opportunity to see her daughter for the first time,” stated palliative care physician Dr. Medha Chunduru.
Now, approximately seven weeks after being admitted, Mrs. Shaheen is being discharged. Jamaica Hospital is inviting members of the media to share in this joyous occasion and even see baby Reda through video conferencing technology.