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Lesson from Kerala floods : Human activities, climate change has disastrous effects on environment

  Lesson from Kerala floods : Human activities, climate change has disastrous effects on environment   Sagaya Fernando Mumbai: 19 October 2021   Overexploitation of natural resources and haphazard development by humans has led to climate change, resulting in long-lasting consequences on the environment. This is increasing health hazards and natural disasters, and more, day by day. The torrential flooding being witnessed recently in the state of Kerala in India is a prime example of this, say many experts.   This is not the first time that Kerala, a state of 34 million people, has been devastated by floods. It saw the worst floods in a century in 2018 when severe rains caused flash floods and landslides, killing nearly 500 people and leaving a million homeless. The following year, more than 125 people were killed in flash floods and landslides across the state. More than 50 were killed in August last year after landslides struck the hilly Munnar region.   The latest spell of torrential

Doctors in India remove world’s heaviest Ovarian tumour

Doctors in India remove world’s heaviest Ovarian tumour


Sagaya Fernando
Mumbai: 24 October 2018-10-24

It was a quirk of fate that brought 46-years-old Vasantha – a farm hand with a massive abdominal swelling from the hill station of Ooty in Tamil Nadu, India – to doctors 85 kilometers downhill at Coimbatore who diagnosed it to be a gigantic ovarian tumour.

“The patient’s abdomen started to swell gradually over a period of two years and started looking like as if she was pregnant with at least quadruplets. In the meantime, her daughter was to get engaged. Afraid of facing the people who would question her about the swollen abdomen and make snide remarks, she along with her husband Pokkisam approached a local doctor at Ooty, who diagnosed her of having a huge tumour and said that her chances of survival are slim even after a surgery. Hearing this, her spouse got disturbed. And, in a state of disturbed mind one day Pokkisam boarded a wrong bus home. A co-passenger who saw him crying and disturbed enquired the reason. On being told that his wife was suffering from ovarian tumour and the local doctor’s claim of slim survival chances, the co-passenger took Pokkisam to his house, consoled him and guided him to our hospital,” informed Gastroenterology and Laproscopic Surgeon Dr K Sendhil Kumar of Gateway Clinics & Hospital, who led the team that conducted the surgery.

“In the cold morning of December, Vasantha – in a thin body frame and huge abdomen walked into our clinic. She wanted to get rid of this social stigma which prevented her to meet with her own people, to take photographs even in her own daughter’s engagement function. We had to take special measures to accommodate her from the entrance to the couch for examination and history taking. She was straining herself to just breathe. After going through the multiple scans she had done, we came to a conclusion that this enormous tumour had to be removed to free her from her disability to walk, talk, breath normally and to sit properly,” said Dr Sendhil.

He added, “The patient’s vital organs were all displaced and shrunken due to the huge space occupied by the tumour, and the abdominal wall was thinned out like a paper due to the exponential growth of tumour within the abdomen. And her body weight was 75.5 kgs prior to the surgery.”

“The chief complaints were distension of abdomen, early satiety, tiredness and difficulty in walking due to heavy mass in abdomen although there was no pain. The main blood vessel which carries blood back to the heart without from periphery (inferior vena cava) was almost compressed leading to swelling in legs and in abdominal wall, and due to compression on this vessel, blood finds an alternative way to reach the heart (collateral blood vessels),” he informed.

“Due to poor knowledge of disease condition, its outcome and non-affordability for surgery the tumour grew to such an extent. Due to the serious risk to her life and difficult anesthesia, a special team was formed and the surgery was executed after preparative investigations and safety measures. The anesthesia team had to ensure a safe airway, due to difficulty as the massive tumour was compressing the diaphragm and lungs and the expandability of lungs was restricted. The tumour was densely adhered to all nearby organs in order to get blood supply from liver gall bladder, abdominal wall, bowel wall, etc. Meticulously protecting all the nearby organs, the tumour was separated and retrieved out completely after ligating and suturing the main blood vessels feeding the large tumour. The surgery lasted about three and a half hours, and we were successfully able to remove the gigantic tumour without any harm to the patient. To our utter surprise, the tumour weighed a massive 33.5 kgs,” said Dr Sendhil.

Post surgery, the body weight of Vasantha stood at 42 kgs.

On doing a biopsy the tumour, it was confirmed that it was cancerous, said Dr Sendhil.

Besides Dr Sendhil, the team involved in this rare exceptional included Dr Piyush Patwa, Dr V Kandasamy, Gynaecologist Dr N Anitha and Anaesthesiologist Dr D Senthilkumar, Dr Sathisha Kumar.

“The patient did not require ICU stay. She responded well and was discharged in stable condition and was on follow up for two months. Now she is fine and fit. The surgery was conducted in December 2017, but we made it public now only after getting it certified as the heaviest ovarian tumour operated on in medical history. We recently received the certificate conferred by Asia & India book of Records. Now we have submitted the papers to Guinness World Records,” said Dr Sendhil.

“My abdomen started swelling gradually in the past two years. As there was no pain, I did not think much about it. And, also I did not have enough money for my daughter’s marriage and how can I think of costly medical care. Though my husband would say we should go to the hospital to get it treated, I was always hesitant. But, at the same time, I didn’t want to die before my daughter’s marriage. It was divine providence that a Good Samaritan met by husband and guided us to Gateway Clincs Hospital where the surgery was done to remove the tumour from my belly. I am now happy that my heavy belly has gone, and I can face people with dignity,” said a relived Vasantha. 

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