Deaf and mute couple despite all odds welcome a Preterm baby at Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal

April 23, 2021

Giving birth to a healthy baby is one of the happiest moment in a couple’s life, the hardships and pain would certainly be worth it once the baby is born. All to be parents, wish for a healthy baby. So did the couple, Gauri and Naresh from Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh. This couple had a hearing impairment along with being mute. Despite her impairments Gauri was hoping to deliver a healthy baby. Though there still exists a social stigma of kids inheriting the impairments from parents, they had one child who was normal.

Gauri and Naresh (name changed), both mute and deaf were very happy when they got to know that Gauri had conceived the second time. Meanwhile both were worried that they would pass on their impairments to the baby. Their first child, 4-years-old, was doing well without any impairments. Wishing the same for the second baby, the family were regularly visiting the doctor for checkups. Gauri’s sister-in-law was her only medium to communication with the doctors through sigh language.

During the initial checkups in Hindupur, the family realized about multiple complications Gauri was facing. She had Placenta Previa which can lead to bleeding anytime during pregnancy and cause adverse outcomes to the mother and the baby. The doctor there referred them to visit Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal owing to the advanced infrastructure in the hospital. Gauri and Naresh, with their first kid and sister-in-law consulted Dr. Aravinda Satish, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal.

Talking about the patient, Arun S H, General Manager, said “Handling the case of Gauri and Naresh was different as both of them could understand only sign language. From getting all details from them to signing the formalities and communicating the requirement, we had to depend on her sister-in-law. Gauri and her newborn baby was with us in the hospital for 2 months and our staff went out of their way to make them comfortable. Although they had to spend more time with this patient compared to others, our staff always had the patience for it”.

Gauri was 27 weeks pregnant and was bleeding when she came to Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal. Upon assessing the situation with appropriate investigations, Dr Aravinda’s team planned to manage her conservatively as the bleeding had temporarily settled. Post this family was thoroughly counselled about the obstetric and neonatal outcomes anticipated. Since this was a high risk pregnancy, the family was kept prepared that she may have to undergo emergency C-section if the bleeding recurred.

Speaking about the patient’s situation, Dr. Aravinda Satish, Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal said “When Gauri visited us she had multiple health ailments. During the evaluation, we anticipated the complications as it was a high risk pregnancy with severe pre term, severe oligoamnios (reduced fluid around the baby) along with placenta previa and we were well equipped to handle the situation. On her arrival, she was given the first dose of steroid.

Along with high risk pregnancy, our other biggest challenge was communication, as it was always through the mediator, her sister-in-law. Gauri started to have profuse bleeding again later at 2 am along with foetal distress. The situation was handled immediately and she was shifted to OT in less than 30 minutes by the team. In her 27th week of pregnancy Gauri gave birth to a baby boy. Once born, the baby developed respiratory disorder and infection and the NICU team took all the measures to resuscitate the baby”.

Dr Vishwanath Kamoji, Consultant – Neonatologist and Paediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal said “As it was a preterm delivery, the baby was shifted to the NICU for gentle ventilation. The baby weighed 980 grams at birth. Initially the baby was ventilated for, approximately 5-6 days as the baby had an infection. Also, due to the swallowing of maternal blood, baby passed bloodstained stool in the first few hours of birth. Once extubated, baby remained stable. Mother’s breast milk and donor milk helped the baby regain its weight after 3 weeks. After the baby recovered from infection, he was weaned off to formula feed from donor’s milk. The initial hearing screening was done for the baby which was found normal”

Due to prematurity and its attendant complications, the baby needed care to grow, feed and develop in the NICU for 2 months under observation. At discharge, he weighed 1.66kg and when followed up at full term age, he weighed 2.5kg.

Also his time bound head scans and ROP (eye) checks were completed.

“Today, modern neonatal units are no longer only tasked for intubation and ventilation. They have to help the baby grow in terms of their complete health, with an aim of not just to be discharged, but discharged home with normal system functions including neurology and eyes” he added.

The well-equipped NICU care and the highly skilled team of doctors helped in the recovery of both the mother and the baby. Innovative treatment methods, quick response, action from the team and all the advanced facilities has brought joy to Gauri and her family.

Talking about the response from the hospital, Gauri’s sister-in-law said, “We are very happy that both my sister-in-law and her baby are doing well. The doctors and staff at the hospital took extra time to explain us all the requirements as I had to communicate all of it to my sister-in-law through sign language. They made the entire process easy for us. The doctors and the staff were equipped and prepared for any situation. We are very thankful to the entire team”.

Many studies shows that in situations like these, when a premature/ extremely small baby is anticipated,

  1. Expectant mother should be transferred in-utero (with baby in womb) to a tertiary NICU for the best neonatal and maternal outcomes.
  2. Giving even a single dose Steroid injection antenatally to the mother will help the baby immensely in terms of morbidity and mortality.

The technology and innovative treatment methods employed along with the expertise and experience in handling such situations by the team can help in best outcomes.