Forty two-year-old Preetam Madan (name changed) was hit by two bullets - in his brain and abdomen - and was profusely bleeding when he was wheeled into Delhi government-run Sushruta Trauma Centre on April 28.
His chances of survival looked bleak at first glance; the doctors on duty at the health centre were stunned to see the extent of Madan's injuries.
A little less than a month later, Madan lives to tell his story and has begun taking steps on the road to recovery.
According to the doctors, one bullet had pierced and entered Madan's body a little above his right eye-brow, damaging the eye completely, so much so that it almost was popping out. The bullet had broken the maxilla bone that forms the upper jaw, before getting stuck at the back of the neck just a few centimeters from the carotid artery. The second bullet had entered through the abdomen on the left side, rupturing his intestines at multiple locations and ultimately getting lodged in the muscles of his right thigh.
Madan was rushed for a whole body CT-scan within minutes of his arrival at the hospital. The scan helped reveal the position of both the lodged bullets and the injuries caused by them. Madan was then wheeled inside the operation theatre for an emergency surgery. The life-saving operation took nearly 10 hours and comprised specialists from various departments of the trauma centre.
During the surgery - conducted in two parts - the doctors first took out the bullets and later repaired the wounds. The abdomen was cut open to repair the intestines and create a bypass for passing fecal matter. Anincision was made in the neck to remove the bullet lodged there.
Because the right eye was damaged completely and ran the risk of infecting the other eye, the doctors were forced to scoop out the damaged eye and clean the socket. The bullet that had hit the eye made a 2cm x 2cm puncture and the other bullet had made a 0.5cm x 0.5cm hole.
Madan was shifted to the intensive care unit immediately after the surgery. According to the doctors in the hospital, Madan was very lucky. Though his injuries were very grave, both the bullets had missed the vital organs.
"For example if the carotid artery - that are blood vessels that supply blood to the head, neck and brain- would have been hit then he would have died instantly. Or if spleen or any other organ, such as the liver, had ruptured then there would have been serious complications," said a doctor in the hospital, requesting anonymity.
"Another thing that worked for him was that he was brought to the hospital within 30 minutes of injury," the doctor added.