Spine miracle stuns surgeons

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By Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 7.05.05

Calcutta, May 7: Deepak Banerjee came back from the jaws of death as doctors gaped in disbelief.

A Howrah-based businessman, Banerjee was on his way to office on his bike when he was hit from behind by a car on April 18.

With a history of acute cervical spondylitis, he lost consciousness immediately after being thrown off the bike.

Banerjee was wheeled into the Calcutta Medical Research Institute with multiple cracks in his spine.

Doctors knew it was one of the most challenging cases they would ever come across and had almost given up hope.

Hospital authorities asked orthopaedic surgeon Arun Mukherjee to take a look at the patient. He summoned a team of physicians to discuss the case.

?His cervical spine had broken into two pieces and the lumbar spine had also sustained extensive damage. We kept hoping that the patient would survive till some sort of surgery,? Mukherjee said.

Investigations revealed that Banerjee had hyperextension injury in his cervical spine. He was unable to move because of his multiple fractures.

The fact that he was suffering from cervical spondylitis added to the trouble.

?I had never seen a case like his in my life. Not many people, with a history of back problem, even stay alive to reach the hospital,? said neurosurgeon G.K. Prusty.

Two days later, a team of orthopaedic and neurosurgeons decided to operate on Banerjee, well aware that chances of failure were more than success.

During the marathon surgery, the cervical spinal fracture was reduced and fixation was done.

?Before and after the surgery, he (Banerjee) kept telling us that he was determined to get well soon. He had fantastic willpower,? one of the attending doctors said.

On April 23 ? three days after the operation ? the second phase of surgery took place with another round of fracture fixation with the help of screws.

?It was an extremely difficult surgery as the nerves had also been damaged considerably and the neurological team was finding it tough to reconstruct everything,? said Mukherjee.

The surgeries over, the doctors, along with Banerjee’s sons Amaresh and Samaresh, waited eagerly for him to respond.

?Ever since we lost our mother, our father has been looking after us. He kept assuring us that he would be fine. We were all stunned by his willpower,? said Amaresh, a college student.

Within a few days, Banerjee started moving his left hand and then his right.

?He has now started moving his legs regularly and it won’t be long before he walks back to work. It is an amazing case, never before encountered in my life,? said Prusty.