Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, 85, admitted to a Kolkata hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19, is not keeping very well, doctors have said. “He is barely arousable, drowsy, very jittery and confused,” read a medical bulletin released by the hospital this evening. The problem could be the result of Covid-related encephalopathy, which set in on Friday, forcing doctors to move him to intensive care.
He may need ventilation if the neurological conditions don’t improve, doctors have said, so that his airways are protected.
A CT scan of the brain last week was followed by an MRI today, which did not reveal any “structural damage”.
The bulletin says the doctors are still hopeful, because apart from the MRI report and despite a fresh onset of fever, Mr Chatterjee’s organ functions were fine and he is not on any form of life support.
The venerated actor, a star of 14 Satyajit Ray films, contracted Covid 12 days ago, the health bulletin of yesterday said. He tested positive on Monday and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday because of age-related concerns and his medical history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and prostate cancer.
While that was in remission, there are concerns of a possible relapse. Mr Chatterjee had admitted to hospital last August with severe pneumonia.
According to reports, Mr Chatterjee had returned to work after the countrywide lockdown was lifted and he had gone to a studio for the shooting of a documentary on him. This was as recent as October 1.
There is some chatter on whether he could have been exposed to the virus there.
There is growing concern about Mr Chatterjee’s health among his enormous fan base in Bengal.
Even Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee obliquely appeared to refer to him when she said at a press meet that though everyone was preparing to celebrate the pujas, many people she knew were in hospital with COVID-19 and she was worried about them.
Ms Banerjee had stepped in on Saturday and deputed two state government doctors to help with the medical treatment of Mr Chatterjee.
A young doctor, Yogiraj Ray, who has made a mark at the state’s local Covid hospital — Beleghata Infectious Diseases hospital — with his treatment of Covid patients and convalescent plasma therapy, was roped in for plasma therapy to Mr Chatterjee.
At least two other senior government doctors are also part of the 15-member medical board monitoring Mr Chatterjee’s condition.