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Photo courtesy of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center staffers celebrate the discharge of Tasnim Shaheen (c.) who battled complications of COVID-19 and delivered a healthy baby girl.

It was a joyous occasion at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Monday as doctors, nurses and other frontline staff celebrated the discharge of a mother who battled complications of the coronavirus and delivered a healthy premature baby girl to save her life. 

On March 24, Tasnim Shaheen was 24 weeks pregnant with her third child when she was taken to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. 

Shaheen was admitted to the hospital’s labor unit for coronavirus, but within two days, her symptoms intensified and she was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator. 

The ICU team closely monitored Shaheen’s condition over the next few weeks, but became increasingly concerned as she developed acute kidney injuries as well as pneumonia. The doctors determined that it was in the best interest of the patient and her unborn child if they performed a C-section. 

“At this point, Mrs. Shaheen was 28 weeks pregnant and we felt as if the baby had a good chance of survival if we delivered,” said Dr. Kavitha Ram, director of obstetrics at Jamaica Hospital. “In addition, we felt that removing the fetus would give Mrs. Shaneen a better opportunity to resolve her kidney issues as well as her pneumonia.” 

After consulting with the patient’s husband, the decision was made to perform the surgery on April 22. 

Shaheen was taken directly from the intensive care unit to the operating room where Ram and her team delivered a 940-gram (approximately 2-pound) baby girl, the couple’s first daughter. 

“The baby came out kicking and screaming and was very healthy,” Ram said.  

The baby was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and Shaheen returned to intensive care.

Soon after the delivery, Shaheen began showing signs of improvement. Within two days, her kidneys began to recover, and within three days, she was taken off of the ventilator. After five days, she was moved out of intensive care and back to the labor unit.

One of the factors that Ram attributes to Shaheen’s recovery was the hospital’s ability to connect her to her family despite not being able to see them due to visitation restrictions. 

Tasnim Shaheen communicates with her husband and sons on a teleconference video call. (Photo courtesy of Jamaica Hospital)

“Throughout the entire admission, our palliative care team did an excellent job of communicating with the patient’s family through video conferencing. Mr. Shaheen had daily contact with his wife even when she was on a ventilator, which allowed him to be involved in her care.” Ram said. “When Mrs. Shaheen was eventually taken off the ventilator, she was able to not only see and speak with her husband and sons, but also her extended family in Bangladesh. We feel this greatly contributed to her recovery.”

Perhaps the greatest moment, however, was when Jamaica Hospital was able to connect Shaheen from her hospital bed to her baby girl, Reeda Birt Shaheen, in the NICU.  

(Photo courtesy of Jamaica Hospital)

“We were overjoyed to be able to provide her with the opportunity to see her daughter for the first time,” said Dr. Medha Chunduru, palliative care physician. 

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