Fall Injures Pregnant Woman’s Spine, Doctors Perform Tricky Surgery
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10 March 2011
Surgeons at St George’s Hospital had to ensure the woman didn’t suffer labour pains and the foetus was not harmed during the operation
Doctors at St George’s Hospital, CST performed a surgery on Wednesday they termed "trickiest in their career". A sevenmonth pregnant woman, Suvarna Kamble from Chembur, had injured her spine in a staircase fall, which rendered her paraplegic. Doctors were faced with multiple challenges – repair the spine, ensure the foetus was not harmed, and perform the surgery as quickly as possible to ensure the woman didn’t suffer labour pain.
To begin with, doctors created a special bed to ensure Suvarna, 28, was able to lie down on her stomach. Then, a gynaecologist was added to team to ensure the pregnancy part was taken care of. Finally, using a square ‘caution box’, the patient was positioned in such a manner that there was no pressure on her abdomen during the operation. The surgery was a success and Suvarna will soon be back on her feet, doctors said.
Dr Sanjay Jagtap, chief orthopaedic surgeon at St George’s Hospital, said: "Suvarna was brought in extremely critical condition. I was apprehensive as I have never operated upon a pregnant woman’s spine. I thought about the complications and it was tough decision. But her condition was worsening and I decided to go ahead with the surgery. My team responded magnificently."
Such operations last around four hours, but doctors had no time in this case. Also, they could not administer high doses of general anaesthesia to Suvarna due to her pregnancy. Doctors operated on her using low doses of anaesthesia and completed the surgery in one–and–a–half hours. Dr Jagtap said, "Apart from the patient, we had to take care of another life inside her. We were worried she would suffer labour pain and her blood pressure would shoot. It was a race against time."
Dr Ashish Waghmare, who was part of the surgery team, said he had never experienced such a tough call. "The surgery had to be wrapped up very quickly. I lost count of the times we glanced at the clock," he said.
Suvarna’s husband Anand said, "My wife fell from stairs and I feared the worst. When we were turned away from a private hospital in Chembur, I could think of nothing but gloom and doom. Doctors there didn’t want to take a chance as she is pregnant. But surgeons at St George’s Hospital are just amazing. They gave my wife a new life. I can’t thank the doctors enough."