The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors scurry to control damage over Vivek health
Vivek Oberoi

Mumbai, July 22: Panicky doctors at Hinduja Hospital here have turned to public relations in an attempt at damage-control as they try to battle Vivek Oberoi’s breathing complications and the scare surrounding it.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sanjay Agarwala issued a three-page statement today detailing the condition of the Bollywood star. Vivek was put on oxygen yesterday after developing breathing complications following an operation on his fractured left leg five days ago.

The doctor, who treated Aishwarya Rai when she injured her little left toe in April, was trying to allay fears created by rumours and Suresh Oberoi’s statement that his son’s condition was worsening.

Suresh had made an impassioned plea to “pray for my son”. In a statement that took Hinduja Hospital doctors by surprise, Suresh said: “Forget science, now it is a matter of faith. My son’s condition is deteriorating and he has started coughing blood. Please pray for him.’’

“He’s still on oxygen. It has become quite serious. I don’t know how it reached this stage. Every day the doctors say he (Vivek) is going to be fine, but there is no improvement even after so many days,’’ Suresh said.

A doctor attending on Vivek seemed miffed by the senior Oberoi’s statements. “Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who know what is really happening. We are confident Vivek is getting better,’’ said the doctor, who refused to give his name.

Vivek was operated on July 17 at the hospital after being flown in from Calcutta where he had broken his left leg during the shooting of a Mani Ratnam film the previous day.

In his statement, Agarwala said before the surgery “Vivek’s saturation level was 82-85 per cent (which is below normal) but with oxygenation his saturation level came up to 100 per cent. The (July 17) surgery was performed successfully using unreamed nailing technique.’’ Agarwala said post-surgery Vivek continued to be in pain and was short of breath.

Doctors said the star required narcotic analgesics which could cause breathing difficulties and that they had decided to keep him under observation in the intensive care unit. During this time, Vivek was provided oxygen, they added.

Agarwala denied that the star had been put on a respirator, as rumoured. “At no stage was he on a respirator,’’ he said.

But it is clear that complications have arisen. Hospital sources said Vivek’s chest X-ray showed changes “suggestive of acute lung injury triggered by fat embolism or trauma’’.

Hinduja doctors have begun conferring with pulmonologists and chest physicians Mahasur and Zarir Udwadia “as a precaution’’.

Doctors believe fat from the bone marrow entered the actor’s blood stream and filtered into the lungs causing breathlessness. “The only way to prevent complication is by fixing the fracture and stopping the marrow leak. These complications were present even when he was admitted to the hospital on July 17,” Agarwala said.

Though Vivek is still in the ICU, Hinduja doctors said his wounds are drying and healing well. They said the actor was able to “mobilise his legs and will be able to ambulate, lung condition permitting.’’

Agarwala sounded a positive note, saying Vivek’s dependence on supplementary oxygen was decreasing and that his condition was “definitely turning around’’.

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