Subhash Chaudhury was brought in unconscious and struggling to breathe; as he took what appeared to be his final gasp, the ECG machine showed a flat line, which translates as ‘clinically dead’. But Dr Mahendra Lokhande did not give up, and persisted with CPR. 40 minutes later, Subhash came alive
At Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar, the doctors are slightly surprised, but happy. One of their medical staffers managed to pull off what they are terming a miracle, a term not generally associated with science. A doctor at the hospital managed to revive a young boy, whom medical equipment had shown as clinically dead.
Subhash has recovered and will be discharged in a couple of days. Pics/Sameer Markande
It was late on Sunday night that the lad, Subhash Chaudhury, a resident of Kamaraj Nagar in Ghatkopar (East), hit the bed after spending time on the cellphone, playing games with his elder brothers. Around 1 am on Monday, he woke up and told his mother, Munni Devi, that he was going to the toilet.
It’s a miracle! Subhash Chaudhury (11) with his mother Munni Devi
He ended up vomiting and complained to his mother, in a choked voice, that something was stuck in his throat and that he could see everything in twos. His mother put it down to fatigue, and asked him to drink water and go back to sleep. Moments later, the 11-year-old collapsed onto the floor.
The panicked family rushed him to the nearby Rajawadi Hospital. Subhash was unconscious and gasping for breath when he was brought in. Dr Mahendra Lokhande, the on-duty casualty medical officer, conducted a preliminary examination and found that Subhash was critical and his pulse was dipping.
The doctor immediately shifted the boy to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), where he was made to undergo an ECG test. The machine could only show a flat line on its display, interpreted as “clinically dead” in medical parlance. The pulse and respiration, too, were not audible.
Coming back to life
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Lokhande confirmed the chain of events. “The ECG monitor showed a flat straight line with no cardiac activity and pulse, indicating that the patient was clinically dead. But, my intuition kept pushing me hard to take a chance.”
The doctor refused to give up. Dr Sushil Yadav, the houseman (junior doctor) who was on night duty at the MICU, recalled, “Around 3 am, I stepped out of the MICU and headed to the casualty ward when I spotted Dr Lokhande rushing towards the MICU with a young boy.
He said the on-duty paediatrician had been alerted, but since the boy was serious, Dr Lokhande took over the task of reviving him.” Just as the boy was laid onto the bed, he took his last gasp and the ECG monitor seemingly went flat in response.
All emergency parameters were put in place to revive the boy; necessary medication was administered through intravenous injections. Dr Lokhande also registered regular cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for over 20 minutes. “We could see abnormal heart waves due to the infusion of medicines, but there was no pulse yet.
Dr Lokhande continued the resuscitation process for another 10-15 minutes, after which the patient’s heart waves were seen on the ECG monitor. At this point, Dr Lokhande gave him a deep painful stimulus, and the boy responded by tilting his head towards it.
The mission was accomplished,” narrated an incredulous Dr Yadav, who is in his second month of the official posting and says he has never encountered any such case before. It took about 40 minutes to bring the child back to life, so to speak. “It is indeed a miracle, but all credit goes to Dr Lokhande, who refused to stop,” he added.
Dr Yadav could only observe the entire process as the doctor struggled, and finally succeeded, in reviving the boy. “Any further delay in giving treatment to the patient could have been fatal,” Dr Yadav contended. “We could miraculously see cardiac movements after our efforts. The patient was then put on ventilator support,” explained Dr Lokhande, who has 12 years of experience.
Road to recovery
Subhash studies in Std V at a Ghatkopar municipal school and is the youngest of four children. He was put on ventilator support until Monday afternoon and, once his parameters stabilised, shifted to the paediatric ward of the hospital, where he will continue to stay for the next few days.
A tearful Munni Devi told mid-day, “I saw my son collapsing in my lap. I feared the worst as we were heading to Rajawadi Hospital. He was fine until evening, and he suddenly started vomiting in the night. Then, his condition worsened.”
Asked if the boy had taken any medicines, she replied in affirmative, stating that a health camp for malaria was held in his school a fortnight ago, and doctors had given anti-malarial tablets as Kam-araj Nagar is known to have cases of malaria and dengue.
Doctors had prescribed a course of one tablet a day, for 10 days. Subhash had taken the last tablet of the course a few minutes after dinner. He started vomiting a few hours later.
Teen heart attack survivor
mid-day had reported on November 22 that a 16-year-old Ashok Kumar had been brought to Rajawadi Hospital after collapsing outside a public toilet. Kumar, a smoker of beedis and cigarettes since the age of 11, was brought in complaining of chest pain, perspiration and pain radiating to the left upper limb. After doctors put him on life-saving drugs, his ECG stats improved and he survived to tell his tale.
Anti-malarial tablets do cause vomiting in some cases. In this case, after vomiting, the food aspirated due to the vomit might have choked the trachea (windpipe), leading to breathlessness and further complications. The boy is doing well, and will be discharged in a day or two.
— Dr Sachin Payannavar, ICCU medical officer at Rajawadi Hospital
Forensics textbooks say that if the ECG shows a straight line continuously for five minutes, the patient is declared dead. In this situation, it might be that it is a case of suspended animation, wherein the heartbeat and pulse are very low and cannot be detected by routine clinical methods. Any delay in giving CPR could have proved fatal. This could be a miraculous case.
— Dr Shailesh Mohite, professor and head of department (forensic medicine and toxicology), Nair Medical College