When Shivaprasad Sadhukhan, a businessman from Hooghly district, began to cough up blood, physicians diagnosed it as tuberculosis.
A series of investigations, however, revealed that he was suffering from two diseases — lung cancer and an acute coronary artery disease (CAD).
Doctors at state-run hospitals in the city, including Medical College and Hospital and SSKM, refused to operate on Sadhukhan, explaining that they could not undertake the risk of going ahead with a “potentially fatal” surgery. A reputed private hospital in Mumbai was also of the same opinion.
The 48-year-old man finally returned to Calcutta, dejected. It was then that a friend suggested Sadhukhan consult the experts at B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre.
Last Wednesday, Sadhukhan underwent a never-before-attempted twin surgery at a private hospital in the city for his lung cancer and coronary artery disease. Four days after undergoing that surgery, doctors say Sadhukhan has made significant progress.
“When we went to Mumbai, Sadhukhan had to undergo the tests all over again,” a relative said on Sunday. “Finally, a doctor told us that the procedure was too difficult and asked us to come back after 15 days with more money, since he was busy then,” he added.
By that time, Sadhukhan’s condition had worsened and he was contemplating alternative treatment to reduce his sufferings to a certain extent.
On his friend’s suggestion, Sadhukhan consulted Ajay Kaul of B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre in the city, who decided to take up the challenge. “The surgery to correct the problems was very complex,” Kaul told Metro on Monday. “Besides, we had not yet started full-fledged cancer surgery and so there were a lot of imponderables,” he added.
On Wednesday morning, Kaul, accompanied by a team of surgeons, carried out the marathon bypass surgery, which involved doing a three-vessel grafting and removal of the right lung and other infected structures, including the pericardium, diaphragm and the chest wall.
After several hours, Sadhukhan, who had to spend Rs 1.75 lakh for the surgery and follow-up treatment, was shifted to the ICU, where his condition was stated to be better and improving. “The most unfortunate part of the entire case is that even after this complex surgery, the patient is not out of danger, since he is also suffering from cancer. If only he had come earlier, things would have been different,” Kaul added.