Life of a surgeon: Multiple transplants, just a few cans of cold drink | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Life of a surgeon: Multiple transplants, just a few cans of cold drink

All Dr Arunanshu Behera and his team had during those 20 hours were a few cans of cold drinks.

punjab Updated: Jul 13, 2017 13:50 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
When asked if he had anything to eat during these 24 hours long ordeal, he said, “Yes, I had 3-4 cans of cold-drink to maintain my calorie intake and one cookie, offered by a staff-nurse,” Dr Behera said.
When asked if he had anything to eat during these 24 hours long ordeal, he said, “Yes, I had 3-4 cans of cold-drink to maintain my calorie intake and one cookie, offered by a staff-nurse,” Dr Behera said. (Shutterstock/Representative image)

His phone rang at 5:30pm, minutes after he had finished his third operation.

Dr Arunanshu Behera answered the call and got ready for the next 20 hours, during which he along with over 20 surgeons performed four organ transplants.

All he and his team had during those 20 hours was few cans of cold drinks.

Tuesday, was a big day for the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh as its surgeons performed the first ever lung transplant, which according to the PGIMER director is first by any government hospital in the country. Apart from the lung transplant, five more organs were retrieved on the same day.

HT Correspondent interacted with some of the surgeons to know what happened behind the scenes in the operation theatre and how the surgeons managed to keep calm.

“On Monday evening, I got a call that there was a potential donor and liver can be retrieved. I immediately got the liver operation theatre (OT) ready for the operation and we started calling the suitable recipients,” said Dr Behera, a surgeon who performed liver transplant. He said that it took five to six hours to do all the preparations for the operation.

“At around 1am, I visited the main OT in advanced cardiac centre, where the organ retrieval process had to start. First lungs were to be retrieved, so we kept the donor ready for retrieval. From 4am to 5am, we retrieved the liver and rushed it to the liver ICU, where the recipient was waiting,” he added.

The surgeon then started liver transplant at 6am that continued till 12noon. Even after the operation ended at 12pm, the surgeon remained busy in stabilising the patient for the next five hours.

When asked if he had anything to eat during these 24 hours long ordeal, he said, “Yes, I had 3-4 cans of cold-drink to maintain my calorie intake and one cookie, offered by a staff-nurse.”

His next meal was at 9pm, when he reached home.

Other surgeons were a bit lucky as they could get 5-10 minutes break to quickly grab a bite. “After transplanting one lung, I got a 10 minute break, during which I had one parantha and tea,” said Dr Harkant, who was in the OT from 12am.

He said, “Most of us had tea and junk food like pizza, samosa during small breaks.” When asked how they maintain their calm during such challenging surgeries, he said, “We have been trained in such a way that we don’t lose our cool. We have seen our bosses maintaining their calm during complicated cases. As the difficulty level rises, we become calmer.”

“We often crack jokes to ease out the stress. We talk among ourselves and ensure that the environment remains light and nobody, especially, the resident doctors don’t panic,” said Dr Behera, before he left for examining one of the organ recipients.