Perwez Alam with Bajrangi at the intensive therapy unit of Brahmananda Narayana Multispeciality Hospital in Tamolia on Thursday. (Animesh Sengupta)
Little Bajrangi has survived the bolt of fate.
The 10-day-old son of a Patamda farmer — born with a congenital malformation in which the heart is located outside the thorax — will live to be arguably the first baby in eastern India to have overcome the rare birth defect.
A team of cardiac and plastic surgeons at Brahmananda Narayana Multispeciality Hospital in Tamolia performed for free the life-saving surgery on the little boy — nicknamed after mythological monkey god Hanuman who survived Indra’s vajra to earn the sobriquet — on Wednesday.
After the gruelling six-hour operation, the third son of farmer Rabindranath Pramanik and Kavita is recuperating in the intensive therapy unit of the hospital, a unit of philanthropic heart surgeon Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health.
Senior consultant cardiac surgeon Perwez Alam, who with his team gave Bajrangi a fresh lease of life, said it was a rare and complex surgery.
“The survival rate of this operation is 40 per cent. But, had we left the heart outside the body, it would have resulted in immediate fatality. Intervention was necessary,” Alam told The Telegraph, adding that it was the first-of-its-kind surgery in Jharkhand and the eastern part of the country.
“The second phase of surgery will be done after five months. With the help of plastic surgeons, the rib cage wall will be reconstructed. This will be followed by a third phase, which will include repair of any other cardiac defects associated with his condition,” the doctor, who has over 900 surgeries to his credit, added.
Alam said the operation on Bajrangi was planned after studying the method adopted by Charles D. Fraser of the Texas Children’s Hospital, US. The latter has conducted five such surgeries so far.
“This birth defect called ectopia cordis is reported in eight per billion births globally. So, we had to be very careful,” Alam said.
Elaborating further on the condition, the senior surgeon said an ectopic or protruding heart could be found along a spectrum of anatomical locations, including the neck, chest or abdomen.
“Globally, there have been only 250 such cases and about 23 of them in India,” he added.
On November 25, 25-year-old Kavita gave birth to Bajrangi while being rushed to a primary health centre in Patamda, 25km from Jamshedpur, in a vehicle.
The unwell newborn was first taken to MGM Medical College and Hospital, where doctors referred him to the Tamolia heal hub.
“The first challenge for us was to control the infection and simultaneously address other complications, after which the surgery was performed,” said a doctor, who assisted in the rare surgery. Father Rabindranath, who owns a small farm, was elated. “We are grateful to the doctors for performing the surgery for free,” he said.
Hospital authorities informed that the cost of the operation was around Rs 90,000, which would be borne by Brahmananda Seva Sadan, a city-based Trust associated with the hospital. The total cost of surgery, including second and third phases, will be around Rs 5 lakh.
This is not the first time the Tamolia hospital has made history.
In August 2010, it had conducted the state’s first successful operation to cure blue baby syndrome on nine-year-old Astuti Kumari.