Alappuzha: A young mother of two is literally struggling to breathe after a thyroid surgery that was likely botched up by the doctors at the Alappuzha Medical College last year. Amid unending travails the family which is in penury now has been advised a costly surgery in a bid to rectify the bungled surgery after which she is constantly wearing a tube, much to her discomfort. As the hospital authorities have washed their hands off her case and are now clueless about what should be done, the family of Devimol has submitted a complaint to the District Collector.
Devimol today wishes to breathe like any other person and be healthy enough to attend to her children Sheena and Shibu. However, a tube inserted in her throat after the thyroid surgery prevents Devimol from leading a normal life.
Devimol, aged 28, was undergoing treatment for thyroid at Alappuzha Medical College over the last 13 years. She was subjected to a surgery on May 7, 2018. Recovering consciousness after the procedure, Devimol found that tubes were attached to her nose and mouth.
On the third day, the tubes were removed and Devimol was prescribed medicines. She was told that health could be recovered by taking rest at home. However, Devimol’s breathing problems worsened and she went to the hospital again. The ENT specialist she consulted told Devimol that a tube had to be inserted again through her throat immediately. An emergency surgery was conducted on her for this.
The doctor had said Devimol could lead normal life after using the tube for six months. Now it is 13 months since the tube was inserted, but the young woman cannot even speak without holding the tube. Often, body fluids flow out of the tube and she would find it hard to breathe.
Family in dire straits
Devimol’s husband P M Shihabuddeen earns a living as a trader on festival grounds. The couple has two children, both lower primary students.
Shihabuddeen now does not go out to carry out his business as he has to look after his wife Earlier, Devimol too used to have a job at a bakery, but as working with the tube became an inconvenience for others, she quit. Both of them are unemployed and live in a rented house.
Recently, an infection affected her throat and the tube needs to be changed for which Devimol has been advised a costly surgery at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. However, neither can Devimol’s family afford the surgery nor is there any certainty that the procedure would be successful.
No fault of doctors: probe
Explaining these matters, the family submitted a complaint against a doctor in the Surgery Department of Alappuzha Medical College. However, this doctor in his reply said that the procedure was carried out by another doctor.
The authorities at the hospital had earlier conducted an internal inquiry and the report had exonerated the doctors. Devimol had subsequently approached the Collector with her complaint.
The doctors insist that there was no lapse in treatment. Devimol was suffering from a health issue that one in a thousand patients could face, they claimed.
First doctor’s version
In his explanation, the doctor named by Devimol in her complaint said that there was no lapses in treatment. “I have profound grief over the plight of the patient. But the surgery was carried out by another doctor in the unit. All precautions were taken before the procedure. The patient is suffering from a condition that one in a thousand persons could face. The follow-up treatment should be carried out by the ENT Department. If the patient approaches the Medical College, further treatment can be considered,” said the doctor.
Second doctor’s version
The doctor who reportedly carried out Devimol’s operation said he doesn't remember the patient.
“I cannot recollect the patient now. Thyroid surgery is a complicated procedure. Several sensitive nerves join together in this organ. According to the physical structures of each patient, there could be problems in the surgery. In such a case, the ENT section suggests insertion of a tube. However, when the patient breathes through the tube, there are high chances for infection. It is the patient’s own responsibility to ensure that this does not happen.
"In normal cases, the tube could be removed after six months; however, there is no certainty regarding this. The patient can approach Alappuzha Medical College or Thiruvananthapuram Medical College to reduce the cost of further treatment.”