He still doesn’t know if there’s a god. But in the last few days, Neelmani Sharma has certainly found his angel.
On Thursday morning, as our nation celebrated its sixty-eighth Republic Day, 46-year-old Sharma couldn’t control his emotions as Dr Gayatri Patankar walked into his cabin ward at the SevenHills Hospital in Andheri.
With his family and the team of doctors gathering, Sharma couldn’t thank the doctor enough for giving him a fresh lease of life. After all, had the doctor not snatched Sharma from the jaws of death, Sharma wouldn’t have been alive after he collapsed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai on Sunday.
Returning from a business assignment in Bangkok, Sharma was waiting for his connecting flight to Ahmedabad, when he suddenly collapsed.
Dr Gayatri Patankar, an anaesthesiologist from Thane, was returning from a family vacation in Dubai when she noticed an unconscious man in wheelchair. He was lying pulseless and cynosed (bluish discoloration of skin), when she administered CPR and saved him. On Thursday, five days after she saw him returning from death bed, her happiness new no bound.
“Seeing him smile and breathe normal, I feel proud to be a doctor today. That night, he had a complete cardiac arrest. He had no pulse. He was not breathing. His body had turned blue. I immediately volunteered and extended my service. I started giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)- lifesaving technique to maintain circulation and breathing. With defibrillator (a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall to someone who is in cardiac arrest) provided by airport authorities, I gave him three shocks. Since there was no oxygen cylinder, an ambu bag was used. Injection Adrenaline was given. I intubated Sharma too for effective ventilation and soon his heart was revived and he was taken to hospital,” said Patakar.
Hospital authorities later got in touch with her and updated her on Sharma’s condition.
Sharma, who works in automobile industry, underwent a bypass surgery on January 23 evening. After spending three days in ICU, Sharma was shifted to the ward.
“I was on a business trip to Vietnam. We were returning to Mumbai from Bangkok. I was supposed to take a connecting flight to Ahmedabad-Gujarat for home when at the luggage belt area at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport, I collapsed. I have no idea what happened to me after that and how I landed up at the hospital,” said Sharma.
Standing next to his bed with tears in her eyes, Sharma’s wife Vipul told Dr Gayatri how she is a God sent angel for them.
“We were video calling each other while he was in Vietnam. We last spoke before he took a flight for Mumbai. He said he will land at 10.30 pm and take a connecting flight to Ahmedabad. We were waiting for his call after reaching Mumbai. We were worried when his number was not reachable. His colleague informed us,” said Vipul.
Vipul even Googled Dr Patankar’s number and called up her clinic to express her gratitude.
She further said, “My husband has cheated death because of Dr Patankar. My entire family is grateful about the fact that she went beyond her duty and set an example that humanity does exist.”
Doctors at Seven Hills Hospital also termed it a miracle survival. Dr Hemant Shinde, Anesthesiologist at Hinduja Health Care explained that in sudden cardiac arrest, when the brain is deprived of oxygen supply even for 3-4 minutes, it leads to certain complications like paralysis of any part of the body, blindness etc.
“Sharma is a miracle. He is absolutely fine. It is also because there was a timely medical intervention and quick thinking of Dr Patankar,” said Shinde.
Appreciating Dr Patankar’s effort, Dr Shinde said the Basic Life Support (BLS) should be taught in the schools.
“Children if told what to do in life saving emergencies will be far more proactive and will lead to better outcomes as it’s difficult for anyone to reach the patient to the hospital in 5 minutes. It takes only 5 minutes for the brain to suffer irreversible damage, hence time is essence here.”
He said emergency can happen anywhere hence more and more people should be taught BLS so that help is received by the patient at the site .
“The teachers initially should be taught and they in turn will teach the students. This can be done under the supervision of the doctors initially and later left to the schools and colleges,” he added.
Dr Ashish Bhumkar, ENT surgeon and Patankar’s colleague said, “Her actions as a doctor, obviously, place her at the topmost in terms of talent and expertise. Importantly, the humanness that sprung out of her, making her do what she did, for a total stranger: this places her in the highest position as a human. She deserves to be saluted. Her act screams help the stranger to your best possible ability.”