Tuesday, April 7

West Bengal: Surgery gives back man hands, a second shot at life

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Two severed wrists of a 40-year-old man were recently replanted at the state-run SSKM Hospital, making it to the list of the rare cases of bilateral limb replantation across the globe. The patient, Sankar Saha, is recuperating at the hospital where he had undergone the marathon surgery on January 7.

Around 3am last Tuesday, Saha — an employee of a printing press at Belghoria — was cutting papers. His hands accidentally went under the sharp record-cutting machine, severing his hands. His colleagues put the severed hands in a plastic bag and packed it in ice as they rushed him to a nearby hospital, where the wound was bandaged. He was then transferred to SSKM Hospital.

By the time Saha reached the trauma care unit at SSKM Hospital around 4pm, he was in severe shock as he had lost around 2.5 litres of blood. Doctors at the new plastic surgery OT wheeled him into the emergency OT. He was first resuscitated by transfusing two units of blood and fluids. In the meanwhile, the plastic surgery department assessed viability of replanting the wrists. One team, led by plastic surgeon Souvik Adhikary, operated on the right wrist, while the other was operated on by another team led by Kalyan Das. “The preservation of the limbs and admission of the patient on time helped,” Adhikary said.

Working simultaneously, the two teams started the eight-hour surgery around 9am. Two main arteries — radial and ulnar — and major veins were reattached. “We have come across just two-three such cases worldwide.” Das said.

Saha had to be given three more units of blood during the surgery. “In such cases, properly preserving the limb and rushing the patient to the hospital within six hours are key to successful a replantation. Apart from the faculty members, the presence of a good number post-graduate trainees made the marathon surgeries possible,” said Goutam Guha, head of the plastic surgery department at SSKM Hospital.

Apart from Guha, Adhikary and Das, plastic surgeons Soumya Gayen, Debraj Saha, Sweta, Saurav Sethia, Meheraj SK, Ajay Pathak, Jaya Leima, Anirban Basu backed by the team of anaesthesiologists Sarbari Swaika, Nilot Pal and Shayantan.

Saha’s right arm was severed 3cm above the wrist while the left arm was amputated at the wrists. Both the hands have started flickering, which — doctors said — is a good sign. “I was conscious throughout the whole period and thought I would never get back my hands. The doctors have performed a miracle. I am hopeful of getting back movement very soon,” Saha told TOI.

Saha has also undergone three skin-grafting surgeries. Doctors, however, will continue to closely monitor him for any sign of infection or venous thrombosis (blood clot within a vein) for three more weeks. Saha will also need to undergo rehabilitation and physiotherapy to fully get back movement in his hands.

“My husband is the only earning member of the family. Thanks to support of the owner of the press and his colleagues, the doctors were able to perform the miracle. I am sure my husband will be able to resume work soon,” said Papiya, the patient’s wife.


Source: Times of India

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