Gangesanantha Teerthapadar

After allegedly sexually assaulting a disciple, self-styled swami Gangesanantha Teerthapadar (54) has somehow received the gift of a miracle - his penis, cut off by the survivor, might recover after all.

Doctors had sutured the penis back together, but feared that the organ would succumb to gangrene and might have to be removed.

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Dr Ajay Kumar, head of the Plastic Surgery department at the government-run medical college in Thiruvanantapuram, Kerala, said, "It is not less than a miracle — when brought to us, the organ was completely cut and hanging by a small bridge of skin, with all the nerves and arteries supplying blood damaged. It was just impossible to carry out any micro-vascular surgery and our priority was to stop blood loss. We somehow managed to suture the organ back to its position, without doing any surgical procedure to repair the damaged blood vessels and arteries."

"We feared for the worst when, soon after the suture, the affected area showed signs of oedema (swelling). We suspected that in days to come, there would be infection that would lead to gangrene, and we would have to remove the organ to ensure that the infection doesn't spread to his blood stream and endanger the life of the patient," added Dr Kumar.

'No miracle'
Soon after the surgical procedure was completed, the swami was under the care of the urology department. However, the urologists do not consider this a miracle. Dr Vasudevan S, Professor of Urology, explained, "We do not consider this to be a miracle, as the patient was lucky to have the organ hanging to the skin. The emergency team could suture the wound, which ensured continued supply of blood to the organ in a small quantity."

"The wound is in the process of healing and, luckily, there was no infection or gangrene. We have found that there is a small opening in the urethra (the passage from where urine flows from the bladder), which needs a surgical repair to avoid leakage of urine. Right now, the patient is passing urine through a catheter," said Dr Vasudevan, adding, "Once the surgery is performed, we are hopeful that the patient will be able to use the organ for passing urine, like any other male. But, having said that, we are a bit sceptical about whether he will be able to perform sexual acts."

Free treatment
When asked how long the patient may need to be in hospital post surgery and who will bear the medical expenses, Dr Vasudevan said, "Post surgery, the patient may need to be in hospital for a month. This being a government-run medical college, treatment is free."