Performing with clinical precision

WHEN HIS van dashed against a State Transport Corporation bus at Gangaikondan near Tirunelveli on October 8 last year, Nagarajan, driver of the van hailing from Virudhunagar, believed that he would not able to take the wheel again, since he had sustained severe injuries all over the body. Particularly, bones in the hip and the right leg were completely damaged.

But, when R. Kanagasabhai, chief orthopaedic surgeon of the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital (TVMCH) began treatment with the decompression on the right leg to remove the blood clot that hampered the flow of blood to the parts below the right knee, there was a glimmer of hope for Mr. Natarajan.

Now, after a year of treatment and the surgeries performed on the hip and the right leg, he is ready to start the second innings of his life.

"I begged the doctors to amputate my leg, since I was suffering from excruciating pain. But, the doctors saved my life, without removing the leg," says Mr. Natarajan.

"When Mr. Natarajan was admitted to the hospital, the inner parts of the knee were about to decompose, and we removed the affected joint, treated it properly and fused it. Though he can't bend his knee now, his leg and, ultimately his life, have been saved. Had he gone to a private clinic, he would have spent lakhs of rupees, but in the medical college hospital, he is rapidly responding to our treatment offered free of cost," says Dr. Kanagasabhai, who has performed a total hip replacement surgery a month ago on Jakkammaal (55), the Ilizarov treatment on Vaiyapuri, an accident victim, and a resection arthrodesis on Sankarasubramanian (35).

The hospital boasts of another `revolutionist': the Dean, B. Sankarasubbu, a renowned plastic surgeon, is conducting surgeries, even special camps, to rectify the cleft lip, along with Dr. Poornalingam.

"The Collector, Sunil Paliwal, mooted the idea of organising a special camp to rectify cleft lip, and he even arranged for computers and digital cameras. We treated 35 patients at the special camp. Mr. Paliwal has promised to get a C-Arm, a modern equipment used in the orthopaedic surgeries," says Dr. Sankarasubbu.

The doctors, through their silent achievements, want to tell the poor that the medical college hospital, on a par with any other private nursing homes, can offer ultra-modern treatment, free of cost.

But the shortage of manpower has an adverse impact on the normal functioning of the hospital. "If we are provided with adequate manpower, no private hospital in the southern district can match our achievements," says a doctor.

From P. Sudhakar in Tirunelveli