It could have been yet another weekend swim at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University’s pool last Saturday for Consultant Paediatric Surgeon of Sri Ramakrishna Hospital R. Diraviaraj. But, destiny willed that he turn saviour for 20-year-old biotechnology student V.R. Loganathan.
On Saturday, Dr. Diraviaraj heard someone scream for a doctor and turned back to see the boy lying almost lifeless along the pool after he was pulled out by a lifeguard.
“There was no pulse or heartbeat. He was placid,” the surgeon said on Monday at the intensive care unit of the hospital where Loganathan is recuperating.
The message the incident stresses is the importance of imparting basic cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills to the common public. “He could have died if a doctor with CPR skills had not been around,” the surgeon said. “We struggled for half-an-hour. I gave him cardiac massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing as the water that entered his lungs was cutting off oxygen supply to the brain.
“By then, the ambulance from my hospital arrived to rush Loganathan for intensive revival measures,” the surgeon recounted.Fatal
Balakrishnan, an engineer, who too was swimming in the pool, recalled the struggle. “He was as good as gone. The surgeon made good of the faint sign of life in the boy and revived him. But, such incidents will prove fatal if people around did not know CPR methods”.
“Even after intensive treatment began in the ICU, we were worried that the boy might have residual paralysis because of the initial impact on the brain. But, he has come through,” said Senior Physician K. Umakanthan.Training
The doctors emphasised CPR training to the public, especially those who work in public places, such as traffic police personnel. In many countries, members of the public had been trained in CPR, including students, they said.Slides
C.V. Ramkumar, chief executive officer of S.N.R. Sons Charitable Trust (which runs the Sri Ramakrishna group), said CPR training would be provided to students of the colleges run by the group. Dr. Diraviaraj said slides on importance of CPR must be shown in cinemas.
Dr. Diraviaraj recalled how he was revived with CPR after a major road traffic accident some years ago by anaesthetist Ravindra Bhat of Ganga Hospital.
Sadly, a couple of years ago, Dr. Bhat suffered a sudden cardiac arrest on a platform at the Coimbatore Railway Junction. He could not be revived because there was none in the station who had skills in CPR.