When busy Kochi made way to save a life

The medical team led by renowned cardio-thoracic surgeon Jose Chacko Periappuram with the harvested heart on their arrival at Naval airport in Kochi.  

The clock ticked 7.44 p.m. and an ambulance came to a screeching halt outside the casualty of Lisie Hospital here.

All eyes searched for that small blue box containing a beating heart and the moment they sight it, the private security guards cut their way through onlookers and mediapersons. It was rushed to the surgery room where 47-year-old Mathew Achadan and a team of doctors were completing a historic harvesting of heart.

A resident of ward 15 in Pariyaram grama panchayat in Chalakudy, Mathew, an autorickshaw driver, was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (MCM), where the heart muscle thickens, six months ago.

Stepping down from the driver’s seat of the ambulance after completing a successful mission was Antony Joseph, a 27-year-old from Mulavukad, who just had the ride of his ten-year-long career.

What he had to share was the tale of a bustling city notorious for its chaotic traffic making way for a life to be saved. On a normal day, nine minutes take you nowhere in Kochi city. But in nine minutes starting from 7.35 p.m. when the air ambulance touched down at the naval airport on Willingdon Island from Thiruvananthapuram, Joseph managed to cover the 8 km stretch to Lissie Hospital crossing some of the busiest points such as Thevara, Jos Junction, Kacherippady, and North Overbridge.

Escorting the ambulance on the police vehicle was Jackson P.F., a senior police driver attached to the Thevara control room, drawing on his past similar experiences in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam.

Following the ambulance in the escort vehicle was Jose Chacko Periappuram, the renowned cardio-thoracic surgeon who led the medical team that headed the transplantation. “Time is the key factor [here],” he told The Hindu before rushing off to conduct the surgery.

For the last three months Mathew has been under the treatment of Dr. Periappuram, who had zeroed in on heart transplantation as the only way to bring back him to life.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:00:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/when-busy-kochi-made-way-to-save-a-life/article7462973.ece

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