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Sen stays on vital support

- A pipe to breathe, a pipe to feed for screen icon

Suchitra Sen spent a day at Belle Vue Clinic’s intensive therapy unit (ITU) without any major crisis on Sunday but doctors said how she would respond after the tube supplying oxygen to her lungs was withdrawn, could not be predicted.

The screen icon, admitted with acute chest infection since December 23, was fed through a tube that doctors put through her nose around noon on Sunday.

“Her condition had become very critical suddenly yesterday evening. But today she is stable after we started the procedure with the endotracheal tube and some of the vital parameters reached satisfactory levels. She slept well throughout the night. We have also started administering her food through a feeding tube,” critical care expert Subrata Maitra said around 8pm on Sunday after chief minister Mamata Banerjee had left Belle Vue.

Asked whether she was out of danger, Maitra said: “Someone of her age who is in ITU for so many days and is requiring incubation and artificial oxygen supply for breathing can’t be pronounced out of danger.... There’s no accurate model for prediction in medical science.”

“She was admitted with a chest infection. But the most worrying aspect now is that cough is accumulating in her lungs as happens with patients of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and she is not being able to take it out,” added Maitra, who is leading a team of doctors treating Sen.

The doctors said her blood pressure and pulse rate were maintained at normal level. She was not suffering from respiratory distress as she was on oxygen support provided through the endotracheal tube. Her chest X-ray has revealed better results than yesterday, said Maitra.

According to the doctor, who has been treating her since end-2007, she was communicating through gestures. That’s how she interacted with her family members and the chief minister on Sunday.

“We are also asking for her permission before starting any procedure or adopting any new course of treatment. She has given her consent by nodding or with a gesture of her hand to what we have asked her, including the insertion of the feeding tube,” said Maitra.

The feeding tube was put through her nose around noon. “It’s essential for her nutrition. She was initially not agreeing to be fed through the Ryles tube and so on Saturday doctors administered nutrition supplement intravenously. But today, she agreed to be fed through the tube,” said a source.

According to sources, Sen’s oxygen saturation level was fluctuating throughout the day between 82 and 92 (out of 100), despite concentrated oxygen being supplied to the lung through an endotracheal tube put in through her mouth on Saturday after she faced the most serious crisis since her admission to Belle Vue.

“The fluctuation was because of her lung condition. She is suffering from chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” said the sources.

However, they said the saturation level of 82 was not below the desired level for Sen.

Another factor that was a major cause of concern for the doctors was accumulation of fluid in her lungs. She was being administered antibiotics and was put on nebulisation and chest physiotherapy since early this week to reduce accumulation of fluid and secretion.

The chief minister reached Belle Vue at 6.10pm and left around 7.55pm, along with Subrata Maitra. Mamata, for once, did not utter a word.

Earlier, Moon Moon Sen’s husband Bharat Dev Varma entered Belle Vue at 1.30pm only to leave with daughters Raima and Riya around 2.30pm. They returned around 4pm. Moon Moon Sen was by her mother’s side throughout the day.

Two representatives from the Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratishthan dropped by. Sen has been a devotee since the early 1970s.