Dr Ravi Arole has been successful in treating about 5000 patients without the usage of Remdesivir. The doctor has managed to bring down the rate of patient mortality to 1% .
Treatment of COVID in India has caught the headlines because many people either have no knowledge or can’t afford it. The myths about the efficacy of using several drugs have been questioned by doctors and scientists worldwide. Still, the fad around its usage exists. It has led to black marketing of such drugs where profit is 1000%. There is a marginally better condition for all those who can afford costly medical care and those who can pay exorbitantly high prices for drugs. But when COVID attacked rural parts of our country, the situation called for an emergency. It is a grave thing to watch the deaths of people like the dropping of flies. But, wouldn’t you be amazed if someone informs you about a doctor who is treating his patients without Remdesivir and that too free of cost?
Dr Ravi Arole is not a new name to Jamkhed. His family is known for their work that has been changing lives in the hamlet for decades. Dr Ravi is the son of the late Dr Rajnikant Arole, who revolutionized the healthcare system of this belt in Maharashtra. And was awarded the prestigious Magsaysay award for his contributions. In the light of the pandemic, Ravi has found a way to continue the family legacy. And solve the issues of the people. Just like his father did.
When last year we were hit by the first wave of COVID, the studies conducted on Remdesivir were anecdotal. He and his team tried using this drug a couple of times, but once the World Health Organization declared its efficacy null, they stopped its usage completely. He says, “Remdesivir and many other drugs have a window or timing of its proper dosage. Patients in rural areas arrive at the hospital much later after they absorb symptoms. Last year this drug worked to an extent because the patient arrived out of fear, but the case reversed this time. Remdesivir only reduces the viral load to some extent. As the cost factor and its effectiveness had an inverse ratio, we scrapped it.”
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He and his team devised an individual patient plan as a part of their treatment protocol. Dr Ravi informs, “We categorize patients into three indexes – mild, moderate, and severe. Mild patients are those who have tested positive but showing no symptoms. They have healthy blood reports, oxygen saturation above 94, and need to isolate themselves. Moderate patients are those who have few symptoms of headache, indigestion, body ache, etc. Their oxygen saturation would be 92. The severe patients have an oxygen saturation of less than 90 and need utter monitoring. They need hospitalization as they are more prone to black fungus too.”
He prescribes paracetamol for mild patients, symptom-specific drugs for moderate ones. Dr Ravi doesn’t believe in the ‘one size fits all’ maxim for treating COVID patients. He says that 85% of them need to follow guidelines and be home isolated. Only 15% of them are critical who need medical intervention. “For severe patients, the oxygen saturation would be below 90, and the CT score would be more than 15, so we monitor the CRP rates and D-dimer levels. We conduct these tests in regular intervals. The reports of liver, kidney and heart have to be analyzed regularly to check their health. We monitor the same for every two days in case of severe patients.” He explains. And close monitoring of kidney, liver, and heart reports with CRP rates and D-dimer levels for severe patients. “Our team gives vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc to all patients. All this helps a patient build their immunity. He adds.
Sharing one of his personal experiences, he says, “We have to look at any illness from a psychological factor. A lot of people get sicker because of their fear and anxiety. Once a patient is hopeless, it is difficult to treat him even with a high dosage of medicines. We spend a lot of time talking to them and easing their fear. The happier and the more relaxed he is, the quicker he will recover.”
His plans include researching post-COVID trauma as many patients could be affected by fibrosis and lung infection. The team is also studying the social, economic, and psychological perspectives of COVID patients, which would help them better their treatment protocols. He proudly says, “We have no billing counters in our hospital. From meals to oxygen to drugs, everything is free. For years my family has rendered selfless service, and I aim to continue the legacy.”