Losing Control

Losing Control - Heart, Guts & Steel

(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

A few minutes later, I was in the operating room, making an incision into his belly. It was full of clots. Clearly, the innocent looking stab had gone deep, slicing into vital organs.

When I cleared away the clots, we saw the problem. The knife had pierced his gall bladder, a tiny bag-like organ beneath the liver that stored bile. The wound had gone through it, barely missing the liver to stop milli-meters short of the largest vein in the body. Just a little deeper, and the patient wouldn’t have made it to the hospital alive!

I checked to make sure nothing else was injured, and then prepared to remove the gall bladder. It was an operation I had performed several times before. I was confident of handling it, even in an emergency.

The dissection went smoothly until, with no warning at all, a sudden gush of blood poured from the stem of the gall bladder near where the main artery entered it.

Within seconds, the area was flooded with blood.

“What happened? I can’t feel a pulse,” cried Ramesh, scrambling to deal with the crisis.

“I’m not sure, something tore. We’re bleeding here.”

“How bad is it?”

“Pretty bad.”

“Can you get control?”

Already instructions were flashing into my mind. The Pringle maneuver I felt for the opening beneath the stomach. Slipped my left index finger into it. I felt the artery throbbing powerfully. Using my thumb for counter-pressure, I pinched the leash of blood vessels.

“I hope this works,” I muttered under my breath. “Otherwise, I don’t know what… ”

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(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

Heart, Guts & Steel - The Making of an Indian Surgeon

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