Family members of Suchitra Sen and doctors monitoring her condition were kept on tenterhooks throughout Wednesday as the 82-year-old screen icon refused treatment for several hours.
“She’s upset by the pain she is having to suffer because of the constant drawing of blood and other treatment methods being followed. But we all are trying our best so that she gets well,” critical care expert Subrata Maitra said around 8.40pm, after chief minister Mamata Banerjee left Belle Vue Clinic.
Sen, according to sources, was “very weak” and “in pain” as she refused to communicate with her loved ones and the doctors for a good part of the day.
“She has developed body ache and the constant pricking of needles for conducting tests is bothering her,” said Maitra, who is leading a team of doctors treating Sen.
Sources said since morning, Sen had refused food through the Ryles tube inserted through her nose. She did not allow doctors to draw blood samples and also refused medicines.
Later in the day, she agreed to be fed through the tube and also allowed doctors to administer injections.
But she continued to resist the bi-pap — a non-invasive ventilation equipment that helps concentrated oxygen to reach the lungs — and chest physiotherapy to clear secretion from the lungs.
“We didn’t use non-invasive ventilation since the removal of her endotracheal tube (on Monday). She is not agreeing to be put on the bi-pap mask. Also, there has been no pressing need to use it as her oxygen levels have not fallen below a point,” said Maitra.
The tube was inserted on Saturday after blood and secretion had accumulated in her throat. It was used to provide oxygen directly to the lungs. The endotracheal tube was taken out on Monday and since then she has been breathing with some oxygen support.
“She is being administered normal oxygen, something that she is used to taking at home, being a patient of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So we can’t just stop the oxygen support overnight. She remains critical but stable,” summed up Maitra.
By late evening, Sen’s refusal to be put on the bi-pap was bothering the doctors. “That is important to reduce the carbon dioxide saturation and improve the oxygen saturation levels in her blood. On top of that, she has said no to chest physiotherapy. The accumulation of secretion from her lungs could put additional pressure on her heart,” said a source.
The actress-turned-recluse was admitted to Belle Vue with acute chest infection on December 23 and shifted to the intensive therapy unit (ITU) on December 29 after her condition turned critical.
With blood tests being refused by Sen, doctors could not measure her carbon dioxide saturation level on Wednesday.
“The level is fluctuating. But she is not becoming drowsy, something that happens when the carbon dioxide level rises too much. We are monitoring it through the oxygen saturation meter,” said Maitra.
The chief minister arrived at Belle Vue around 6.45pm and spent close to two hours there.
An anxious Moon Moon Sen was by her mother’s side through night and day. “Suchitra Sen’s refusal to communicate and then cooperate caused the family a lot of grief on Wednesday,” said a source.
Raima and Riya Sen also spent long hours with their grandmother. Their father, Bharat Dev Varma, visited Belle Vue around 6.30pm.