Conquest of Death 3

'You will need to undergo surgery (operation) immediately,’ I advised. I was at a patient’s house. This was my second visit to his place; the first being four days ago. ‘Operation?’, my patient was perplexed. ‘Yes!’, I remarked.
‘But doctor, now I do not have any pain in my stomach. It has stopped suddenly!’ ‘Suddenly! That’s what is dangerous!’ Not convinced fully, he said, ‘Please discuss this with my family doctor.’ His family physician’s office was nearby. I went to him personally and explained it to him. Our conversation went as follows.
‘Doc, four days ago when you referred this patient to me, he already had an appendicular lump, fever, tachycardia (fast pulse). I advised him to get admitted into the hospital for treatment, but because of financial constraints, he requested treatment at home. With a great reluctance, I started the treatment. However, I also explained to him to watch for rising fever, increasing pulse rate, increasing pain, and more importantly, sudden stoppage of pain, which is ominous! He now requires an emergency exploration!’ His family doctor was convinced. We both went to the patient’s house, explained to him the gravity of the situation and the need for the urgent operation. He and his family members were convinced. They agreed to the operation but the financial constraint was a major hindrance.
“I will pay all your bills now, but you get operated first, get well, and then you can pay me back later as per your convenience, and as much as you can afford! Not a mite I demand from you!” He breathed a sigh of great relief. ”A senior surgeon known to me is nearby, we can hire his operating room and bed,” his family doctor said. ”If he desires to operate, I am willing to assist him,’ I said. I went to the senior surgeon and said, ‘Sir you are a senior surgeon, this is an important case; in the interest of saving the patient’s life, if you desire to operate, I am willing to assist.’
“No no, a day should rise in your life when you become senior and help your juniors become seniors! You are operating and I am assisting!”‘I am very much grateful to you. Gurus of your quality are hard to find. I shall follow your teachings lifelong!’ We started the operation. There were lots of adhesions. With great circumspection and dexterity, I released the adhesions, separated the appendix from the surrounding tissues and searched for the tip of the appendix. To our surprise, it was normal and the appendix was perforated at the base! (The appendix is attached at the base to the junction of small and large bowel. It usually perforates at the tip.) A fecolith (stone comprised of fecal material) was expelled out in the peritoneum (the sac covering the intestines); this itself is a very dangerous condition. I removed the appendix, washed the peritoneum, inserted a drain and closed the abdomen.
I started strong antibiotics. The next day, he had fever and jaundice. I was worried. I monitored his vital signs every hour. On the third day, his vital signs were normal and the drain stopped flowing. On the fourth day, he moved his bowels, the yellow tinge in his eyes diminished and he was hungry. In due course, I started feeds. On the seventh day, the jaundice abated. I decided to shift him to a better equipped hospital, preferably one which was attached to a teaching institute. He and his relatives agreed. I shifted him there. The professor in charge of the ward said,
‘Doctor, I have yet to see a patient of portal sepsis (poison circulating in the liver) survive! Kudos to you!! Young man, you have done a great great job!!! I don’t think I could have done anything more than this. He has survived; his vitals are normal, his wound is dry and healed. Still, if you wish I shall admit him for observation. On the tenth post operative day, we will remove half the sutures, on the twelfth day we shall remove all the sutures and on the fifteenth day, he goes home! O.K.?’ ‘I am very much grateful to you sir!’ I said. Every thing was going according to the plan. I narrated the anecdote to my wife. She expressed her desire to give her best wishes to the patient. The next day I took my wife to the hospital.
‘She is my wife’ I introduced her to the patient and his relatives. ‘Don’t worry, you will soon regain your health,’ said my wife. Her words touched everybody’s heart!
‘With a great fight, your husband has brought me back my son from the crooked clasp of death. He spent from his pocket. Above all, he never ever demanded even a single penny. The value of life cannot be compared with money. My son’s life is much more precious than any amount of fees. We have no words to express our gratitude towards Dr. Vinze.’ His father’s words were followed by a hush. The prolonged calm was disturbing. His wife could not contain her sentiments. She reclined on my wife’s shoulder and shed silent tears. My wife caressed her to pacify her, but the outburst of her emotions was stormy. She started weeping aloud. My wife also burst out into tears.
I could not stand the poignant scene. I left the ward, went to a secluded place and wept away my mind.


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