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A 44-year-old doctor who had led the battle against COVID-19 from the front, succumbed to the virus on Wednesday, September 2, in Bengaluru. The doctor worked as a taluk health officer in Mundaragi, Gadag district.
Dr Basavaraj K had to be shifted out of the district as there was so ICU bed available for him in Gadag town. He was moved to a private hospital in Hubbali in the second week of August, from where he was referred to Bengaluru's Sparsh hospital. He is survived by his wife, and his two sons aged 15 and 10 years.
"He was on a ventilator when he was brought here," Sparsh authorities said. "His oxygen saturation level was below 40 per cent as against a healthy 95 per cent. He died on Wednesday."
According to the hospital, he had developed renal failure.
Dr Basavaraj K is the ninth government medical officer to die while on COVID duty, and the state of affairs has been condemned by the Karnataka Government Medical Officers' Association (KGMOA).
According to the doctor's colleagues, he was very hardworking. "He worked on establishing a COVID Care Centre in Mundaragi where 32 asymptomatic patients were initially isolated. He worked tirelessly to screen people and ran a number of fever clinics," his colleagues in Gadag said.
They also alleged that the doctor could not get Remdesivir in Gadag. "He should have been put on it in the initial stages itself. The drug was given to him when he was shifted to Hubballi, but it didn't help him much as his condition had worsened. When he was brought to Bengaluru, he was on a ventilator," The Times Of India quoted a friend of his as saying.
Dr Basavaraj K underwent plasma therapy at Sparsh hospital. Arrangements were also made to put him on a heart-lung machine (ECMO-Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation. His condition, however, did not support the treatment.
The total cost of the doctor's treatment
"The government has issued an order that it will bear his medical expenses. The government will pay Rs 10 to the hospital," said Dr Srinivasa Gulur, president, KGMOA.
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