A bullet lodged deep in the neck of Delhi government’s transport minister, Gopal Rai, 17 years ago, was successfully removed in a surgery at a city hospital on Friday morning.
Rai was admitted to Indraprastha Apollo Hospital on May 5 for a planned surgery.
He suffered a gunshot wound in his neck in 1999 in Lucknow University, reportedly during a student agitation. He had suffered complete quadriplegia (neck down paralysis) for more than a year.
A close aide of Rai said the bullet was not removed back then because doctors told them that the surgery could have turned fatal given the sensitive nature of the injury.
Gradually, his limb movements started coming back, and after three years of getting shot, he recovered enough to walk and become independent.
The gunshot wound caused severe spinal cord injury, and the recovery is miraculous as direct gunshot wound to the neck leads to complete irreversible quadriplegia in most cases, say doctors.
“He has had the bullet in his neck from 1999, which lodged at the back of his neck and over time had migrated to burrow under the skin at the back of the upper thoracic spine. However, after assessing the bullet location, it was found that the projectile was easy to access and could be removed under anaesthesia. The decision, hence, was made to remove the lead bullet,” read an official statement by Apollo.
The surgery was performed successfully and the bullet removed without complications.
“The minister will go to the Apollo Hospital at Hyderabad for upper limb rehabilitation and later will be moved to Apollo Hospital Chennai for gait training,” the statement further read.