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Showing posts from March, 2011

A Supreme Court decision close home

Being argumentative and opinionated (like most Indians), I would not let a major political, economical or social development go by without discussing the issue at an enervating length with likeminded friends.
On Monday this week, the Supreme Court of India in its landmark decision ruled against mercy-killing for Aruna Shanbaug, who suffered a massive brain damage due to a violent sexual assault almost 37 years ago.The activist journalist who visited her in the hospital felt Ms. Shanbaug was ‘brain dead’, and petitioned for ending her life.The hospital staff of KEM (King Edward Memorial Hospital), Mumbai who have nursed her for all these years however think her as not vegetative and brain dead.Ms. Shanbaug is said to respond to touch, food, and music.
The time frame and magnitude of our father’s condition and that of the others we have seen and heard about in the hospital doesn’t come anywhere close for comparison with Ms. Shanbaug’s situation. I do however know that even a small tremo…

What After Surgery….?

Western medicine is amazing at saving lives.   It saves at any cost.  The quality of life it saves might not match the efficiency of saving it.   There are oh so many equipments to keep a life going, medicines galore to ward of any possible illness.  The question of how the life lives after subjecting itself to the medicines and life support machines does not find an easy answer.
If our father’s hematoma was of lesser size, he might not have needed craniotomy.   We are told that smaller hemorrhages get absorbed.  As big as our bleed was, a surgery saved our father’s life, now we are trying to heal him.
Heal him is easier said than done.  A heavy dose of antibiotic will be prescribed for any hint of infection.  If he is coughing, then a chest x-ray is an obvious next step.  Is his chest is clear in the x-ray, but he is still coughing, then it must be the brain – a CT Scan of course would give the answer.  If the scan shows nothing, then we all are stumped.   
There is very little ob…