The surgical beginning

The new year brings with it a renewed vigour and tenaciousness that can heal any medical ailment

“I don’t think anything can be done for him,” the casualty medical officer called me after looking at the state in which the patient was wheeled into the emergency. Siddharth had been riding a bike that had made a head-on collision with a truck, whose driver had turned into a No Entry lane. I went to the ER to see him. His face was split into two with both halves of his upper and lower lips 3 inches apart. There was barely a semblance of a nose. The gravel from the road was mixed with the putrid stench of dried bloodthat filled his mouth and nose. It looked like he was missing an eye. His face resembled a ruin discovered at a destroyed archaeological site with a lifeless body attached to it. “How old is he?” I enquired. “30,” replied one of his relatives. “We must do everything we can to save him,” I told the team.

The ER doctors were able to get intravenous access and supplement the blood and fluids he’d lost. “We can’t insert a breathing tube through his mouth to protect his airway,” claimed the intensivist, “as everything is blocked and fractured.” “We’ll have to do an emergency tracheostomy,” I suggested. After giving him a thorough wash to removethe muck he was covered in and sanitize the skin,he was taken to the OR and a hole made in his windpipe to connect him to the ventilator, so that he could get his supply of oxygen. Alongside, the anaesthetist stabilized his vital parameters and shifted him back to the ICU.

“He will need urgent surgery,perhaps more than one,” I told the family once we saw the extent of damage on the CT scan of the head. There was a large expanding blood clot causing pressure within the brain and the fractures of his facial bones looked like a glass that had been shattered. Luckily, there was no major abdominal injury or fractures of the bones of the arms and legs or even the spine. “We will open up the head and remove the blood clot first, and then the plastic and facial surgeons will try and fix whatever they can to realign the face,” I explained to an extended family of over 20 people who had gathered there. “Will he survive?” his mother asked with an ashen face. “We’re going to try our best, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to save his eye,” I reasoned, looking at the extent of damage from the scan. One cannot fathom the plight of parents envisioning their son on the precipice of death. A life that they had nurtured with all their heart had come to an abrupt halt and even a possible end.

The same day, we took him to the OR and made a large question mark-shaped incision, whose tail ended in front of the right ear. The skull bone was cracked at multiple places and looked like a badly arranged jigsaw puzzle. We drilled around it and removed all the broken bone. The dura – the layer covering the brain – was tense, and as we cut it open, a thick blood clot emanated like a teeming river in a warzone. The brain looked harsh, red, and angry, but once we removed all the debris, it started to pulsate again. We put back the pieces as best we could and handed it over to the plastic and maxillofacial surgeons who,over the next 12 hours, reconstructed the entire face. Multiple fractures of the jaw and cheek were reduced and secured with miniplates and screws. His lips were stitched back with fine sutures barely visible to the naked eye. The ophthalmic surgeon was able to restore the eye and adjust it within the socket it had recessed into. The nose too was reconstructed with multiple splints within it. As there was no way for us to insert a tube into his nose to feed him, the general surgeon sewed one directly into the stomach. Several medical and surgical specialties came together to ensure he came out alive from the OR.

The next day when we saw him in the ICU, his head was twice its size from all the swelling that sets in a day after any kind of major injury. “We’re going to keep him on a ventilator and knock him off with medication togive the brain some rest for the next 48 hours,” I told the anxious family. Two days later, once we discontinued the sedatives, there was still no sign of him being awake. The CT scan looked good. The blood had vanished and the brain looked like it was healing. The shadow from all the tiny metal plates looked like stardust shining inside his head. The universe was conspiring with us to pull off something magical.

“I’m going to be on leave for the next few days and will resume on New Year’s Day,” I told his family,“but the entire team is present here and will look after him. We have to give this a little bit of time, and God willing, he will wake up,” I explained to the sea of jittery faces in front of me, urging them to hold on to their faith.

The New Year is that random time of the year when everyone longs for new beginnings. We use the date to start a new resolve, a new practice, a project, or sometimes even a new love. We need that date to break old patterns and reconfigure something afresh; sometimes it requires letting go, while sometimes, it requires holding on even harder. It requires courage but tenderness, strength but vulnerability. It requires the tenacity to kindle the light within us.

Some beginnings are tucked into endings. Sid had nearly lost his life when he came to us. When I saw him after 5 days of being away, he was sitting up in bed and gave me a thumbs up. He could comprehend what I was saying and acknowledged it. He still couldn’t talk because of the tube in his windpipe. The swelling on his face had subsided and his eyes had opened up. I put up random fingers in the air from a distance and asked him to count them after covering his good eye. The eye we thought we might not be able to redeem was working well. He was able to count. He was still being fed through the pipe in his stomach but that will come out soon in addition to everything else that is helping him heal. He will be free again:free to choose the life he wants to live, free to walk through the portals of possibility that his life has in store for him with a renewed reverence for it.

We will be able to wish him, along with all our readers, a Happy New Year

33 Comments on “The surgical beginning
  • Supriya Correa says:

    You’re a genuius, Mazda. Neurosurgery is the domain of the gods and you belong nowhere else but here. After reading your post, New Year wishes seem so trite. What an incredible job of giving life back to Sid. Brilliant work

    Reply
  • Vispi says:

    After reading the piece twice to only comprehend what you had to do to Sid, to give him a new life., i think the prefix Ahura needs to be put before your nam Mazda.
    So Ahura Mazda! You are a true Hod of your profeesion.

    Reply
  • Dr Shyam Babhulkar says:

    Super…Mazda….it is always enthralling & deep piercing in heart, the narration & your super literally craftsmanship is just a boon to read. Congrats. March towards publishing a book of all your pearls.. Shyam Babhulkar..

    Reply
  • Chanda says:

    🙏 Marathon achievement is all I can say.
    Thank you Dr. Mazda. Having you around a patient gives HOPE

    Reply
  • Kersi Naushir Daruvala says:

    CONGRATULATIONS beside being a Genius you are and have excellent report with the Almighty. May Siddhart live a long happy life in this coming years.

    Reply
  • Chanda says:

    🙏 Marathon achievement is all I can say.
    Having you around a patient gives HOPE

    Reply
  • Dr. Rafat Ansari says:

    U touch the lives of people u touch to treat!
    The way ur team put Sid together felt like ur putting the pieces of a jig saw puzzle which is so easy fr u to do it everytime.!
    Just reading his description scared me no end. U r a healing for humanity… Neurology is ur calling …

    Reply
  • Vipul shah says:

    Dearest Dr Mazda sir…….

    What a fantastic case of sid bringing him back from almost gone case to a Living back to normal with the help of different super specialists Surgeons team .🌹

    It’s nothing but a miracle for young 30 years young biker to recover under your guidance & medical care 🌹

    Lord Ahura Mazda will always shower HIS special blessings to our Mazda sir 🤣

    May you continue with your noble deeds on many more Happywala new years & writing piece after piece for readers like us with medical enlightenment sir 🌹🌹

    Reply
  • Arun Pushkarna says:

    Dear Maz,
    We have had the joy of sharing so many medical journeys with you, often holding our breaths till we reach the end of your article, sometimes commiserating the loss of a patient but more often, rejoicing in the happy outcomes.
    Surprisingly the yardstick gets higher every time… and you vault it with grace and the blessings of the Almighty.
    You are truly a gift from God!!

    Reply
  • Sunita Masani says:

    free to walk through the portals of possibility that his life has in store for him with a renewed reverence for it.

    What brilliance as a doctor and a writer

    Reply
  • Anil Karapurkar says:

    So well written. The trials and travails and ultimate happiness of a great outcome is the life of a Neurosurgeon

    Reply
  • Sanober Pardiwalla says:

    You are one of the very few gifted people who have the ability to see peace in chaos as if time is slowed down where you can go beyond the noise and see the root cause of the problem and find a way out.
    I love reading your blogs.
    🥂 Goodluck

    Reply
  • Farokh says:

    Dr. Mazda yoy really are a Marvel God bless you & happy new year to you & your team of Doctors.
    Wish the lad good luck for his speedy recovery.

    Reply
  • Arnavaz Jal says:

    Turning an impossibility into a possibility is nothing short of a miracle. May Ahura Mazda
    keep showering his blessings on you.

    Reply
  • MANOJ MALKAN says:

    The Almighty gave him first life, you gave him second. Keep it up Mazda

    Reply
  • Rita singh says:

    What a wonderful medical magical true story!!U r a genius Dr.mazda.Hope every patient has a doctor like you when they are critical. Thank you for the sincere work u r doing. HAPPY New year to all.

    Reply
  • Mbusi Dlamini says:

    Happy New Year Dr Mazda, Sid and and to each and every team member who joined in Sid’s life saving effort. You all brilliantly demonstrated what human capability supported by God’s will creates. For taking that first step with and on behalf of the teams, Dr Mazda, well done!

    Reply
  • Natwar says:

    Dr. You are great….

    Reply
  • Vispi says:

    Yes u have to come out with a book to enthrall a much wider audience.

    Reply
  • Freds says:

    Sincere attitude of work comes with sincere results. Out comes of your expertise n dedication is fully acknowledged with no words to explicit.
    God bless n gives you strength to path more glory n miracles.

    Reply
  • Anjali Patki says:

    Amidst the sadness you always bring a ray of hope and healing. Superb

    Reply
  • Kefalotse Dithole says:

    Reading this story was like going through an apocryphal story! However, I knew it was a true story becoz I know the magic in those hands Dr Madza. That was a New Year”s Gift to Sid and his family. CONGRATULATION AGAIN DR MAZDA AND ALL YOUR SPECIALISTS SURGEONS. GOD BLESS YOU FOR RESTORING THE LIVES OF MANY.

    Reply
  • Hemendra Shah says:

    Dear Mazda,

    I could not stop tears from my eyes while reading your article. You managed to save Sid’s life from jaws of death. Congratulations and well done. Keep it up.

    Reply
  • Dolly Dastoor, ph.d says:

    You are amazing, your surgical skills are good given and you use them to the best of your ability.
    It is such a learning experience in humility and professionalism. May you live long to help as many people as you can. Happy year and all the best for 2024

    Reply
  • Gloria Msampha says:

    He’s so lucky to be alive. The Gods worked overtime to heal him.
    Happy new year.

    Reply
  • Eddie P Behramkamdin says:

    Dr., Mazda, you are a God’s gift not only to your parents but also to those suffered who really need your hands and mind to help them cure lading to healing by invisible hands too as you are blessed born to priests family and in Zarathushtrian history, priests were true healers.
    Heartiest congratulations to your goodself together with entire team of Doctors and medical supports with you and while on subject with you and all plastic surgeons should also be congratulated to put SID back to ship shape.
    Best regards with God bless and good luck with successful happy long life at the service of humanity.

    Reply
  • Setu Ram says:

    It was truly an epic battle to save Sid’s life. Life won.
    You and your team glued together shards of a shattered mirror.

    May you always radiate the light within you!

    Reply
  • Dr Ketan Desai says:

    Nicely Written Mazda. We eagerly wait for your blog. As it narrates a neurosurgeon’s journey

    Reply
  • Ben Gurion says:

    Fortitude and perseverance are your strengths!
    Words fail!

    Reply
  • Ben Gurion says:

    Fortitude and perseverance are your strengths!
    Words fail!

    Reply
  • Aban COMMISSARIAT says:

    Dear Mazda, what a treat to always to read your medical blogs. A book is a must. Such courage to undertake such a case and successful no less! The gods are surely with you guiding your blessed hands all the way
    God Bless

    Reply
  • Mahashweta Biswas says:

    Wow Mazda. Congratulations. Hats of to you for giving him a new life & not giving up on him

    God bless

    Reply
  • Cusrow Sadri says:

    Doc, as many have mentioned above, it’s always a treat to read your blogs and you should definitely publish them all in a book in the future.
    There’s also a serious lesson in this story for everyone to learn “Please always wear a helmet while riding a bike, any kind of bike”.
    Definitely Sid’s recovery was nothing short of a miracle and may the Good Lord bless him now with a safe, healthy and happy life.

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *