Shivangini Gohain, 12-year-old Assam archer struck by arrow, shifted to ICU

A senior doctor at the AIIMS trauma centre said Gohain, who had been brought here from Dibrugarh in Assam on Thursday night, was stable after the “very complex surgery”.
Photo of Shivangini Gohain after her surgery at All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi.(Twitter/ANI)
Photo of Shivangini Gohain after her surgery at All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi.(Twitter/ANI)
Updated on Jan 10, 2020 11:11 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRhythma Kaul & Navneet Singh

Shivangini Gohain, the 12-year-old archer who was accidentally pierced by an arrow while practicing at a Sports Authority of India centre (SAI) in Dibrugarh has been shifted to the ICU after a complicated surgery at the AIIMS Trauma Centre here.

A team of senior doctors planned the procedure overnight, and the surgery, that began at six in the morning, went on for four hours. It involved removing the arrow that had pierced through the right side of Gohain’s neck, sparing the vital blood vessels and the spinal cord by 0.5cm, and stopping short of piercing the left lung. 15 cm of the 65 cm long arrow had penetrated inside. The injury could have left her a quadriplegic (all four limbs paralysed) for life, according to the doctors.

“It was a complex surgery but we have successfully removed the arrow and she is recovering well. She should be able to get back to her game post discharge,” said Dr Deepak Gupta, professor, neurosurgery, AIIMS, who led the team that performed the surgery. “I was told about her arrival at around 6pm on Thursday, and she arrived around 8pm. Till late into the night we were planning the surgery,” he added.

The arrow caused damage to the shoulder bone and part of the neck, but Gohain is stable, moving her arms and legs, and had khichdi for dinner, said doctors.

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Gohain was air-lifted from Assam and reached AIIMS Trauma Centre on Thursday night, after a failed attempt to remove the arrow at a local hospital in the state.

The injury was evaluated with a CT scan and angiography to know the position of the arrow.

“…Arrow was seen to be stuck in the cervical spine vertebrae in close relation to spinal cord and major vessels,” the statement from AIIMS read.

A major part of the planning was how to remove the arrow safely. A high-power carbide drill system that is used to cut steel was used to break the aluminium carbon alloy arrow into two pieces.

Gohain would need to stay in the neuro intensive care unit (ICU) for some time before doctors can take a call on her discharge.

The young archer has been training at Dakha Devi Rasiwasia College at Chabua near Dibrugarh, which is an extension centre under SAI, for over a year. The state archery association has accused the coach and officials at the centre of negligence.

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The center has around 30 trainees under SAI coach A C Marcy from Manipur, who is in Guwahati for the Khelo India Youth Games.

Marcy, a former international archer, admitted that the trainees were practicing without supervision, but said that she had told all the athletes not to come for training while she was away.

“Without supervision there is always a chance of getting injured. But the parents insisted they would manage things,” Marcy said. “On that unfortunate day, her parents weren’t present. They had dropped her and gone back to their shop (the parents run a small eatery) and got busy. She went close to the targets and got hurt.”

The archery field has 40 targets. “There is a 15 metre gap between 20 targets. The distance is enough to avoid any mishaps,” Marcy said.

Subhash Basumatary, SAI regional head at Guwahati said since Marcy had come to Guwahati for official duty, “the blame will go to the officials (present at the centre).”

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