When doctors take the Hippocratic oath, they vow to do everything in their power to help save a life. But what happens when the odds are against them? Do they go that extra mile to stay true to the purpose of saving a life?
There are some who do, and Dr Sushil J Deshmukh who walked eight kilometres in four hours to save a critical patient in Loni Kalbhor is one such exceptional example.
On July 9, as Pune witnessed the traditional Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi procession, many routes in the city were shut for motorists.
Nitin Nathaji Raybhan, who is a resident of Lohegaon was also among the many who watched the much-talked-about procession with his friends and family. Little did he know that it would turn into a dramatic night.
Nitin had undergone a liver surgery in January 2018. That day in July, when he was out watching the procession, he started feeling discomfort in his abdomen at around 12:30 a.m. While he decided to ignore it at first, it turned worse, and by 2:00 a.m., his family decided to rush him to the nearest Vishwaraj Hospital.
But the Palkhi had blocked all routes to the hospital. So forced by the circumstances, the family decided to walk to the hospital for an hour to the hospital with an ailing Nitin. When they arrived at the hospital at 3:00 a.m., his condition had worsened. Apart from shooting pains, Nitin developed a fever and began to vomit. His worried family was later informed that he had been diagnosed with a ruptured liver abscess (RLA) of almost 22 cm, which can be fatal.
According to the Pune Mirror, his ultrasound displayed a large pocket in the liver, containing over 400 ml of pus. When the staff ordered a CT scan of his abdomen, the reports showed that the abscess had burst.
About three hours had passed, and by 6:00 a.m., he was struggling to breathe and his pulse shot up. He was quickly rushed to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and his family was notified that he would require an emergency surgery.
Around this time, Dr Deshmukh was alerted about Nitin’s critical state. A resident of Kalyani Nagar, the doctor drove up to Hadapsar. However, most routes were closed due to the procession, and while his staff tried to find alternative routes, they were unsuccessful.
The doctor knew that the clock was ticking, and decided that he could not waste any more time.
Dr Deshmukh parked his car at Hadapsar and walked for the next eight kilometres for about four hours to reach Loni railway station. Fortunately, along the way, a good samaritan dropped him to the hospital.
This way, the doctor who started walking at 10:00 a.m., reached the Vishwaraj hospital at 3:00 pm. However, throughout this process, he was in touch with his staff and gave them instructions to ensure that Nitin was stable and prepped for surgery.
Speaking to the publication, the general and laparoscopic surgeon at Vishwaraj Hospital said, “Due to Palkhi, the entire route was blocked, and the procession also had a halt at Loni Kalbhor. I started walking from Hadapsar around 10:00 a.m. to reach the hospital after having parked my car at the Hadapsar flyover. It took me almost four hours to cover a distance of eight kms due to the crowd. Fortunately, after I crossed Loni railway station, I stopped a biker who gave me a lift to the hospital.
Along the way, I was speaking to the hospital staff on the phone and instructing them to stabilise the patient and make pre-operative arrangements. I reached around 3:00 p.m. and went straight to the operating theatre. A laparoscopy was performed, and the process took approximately three hours with 700 ml of pus removed. Afterwards, the patient had to be put on ventilator support for two days and is now stable.”
Medical practitioners like Dr Sushil are the ones who time and again reinstate our faith in a system that is grappling with red-tapism. We salute his dedication to his duty, and also wish Nitin a speedy recovery!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)