Monday, May 14, 2012


     There are many incidences that occur in our life . This is especially true in medicine.But this story that occurred several years ago is quite unusual. and may be that is why I remember it as if it occurred yesterday .
     It was Saturday and I was going to start my weekend hospital rounds. On the weekends the rounds are shorter, as usually there are no procedures and there is no office, so I am done in 3 hrs. And then the phone rang. I answered it . There was a male voice, " is this  xxxx's residence ?" I said 'yes'. o then he told me his name and told me that he was visiting from out of state and had come for some work. He had a meeting that afternoon and had some 'free ' time , so thought of meeting me . I was not too sure as to who he was , but then came to know that he had known that I lived here and he looked up in the telephone book and found out my telephone number and was calling me to see if I had free time . I told to come in the afternoon as I was going out for my work .I gave the directions to my home .
     He came to my home that afternoon . We were fasting on that day , so the 'Fsting food ' (this is the paradox ---fasting food ) is great and most of the people love it. He was no exception . We had  nice  talk . He owned a company that he had started and developed and the sold it to a bigger company and now was a 'consultent ' for that company . He was married and had 2 sons and both were married . His company had a small office in our area and  he had come to talk to the manager. we had a nice talk.When he was leaving my home he asked me for the directions to his manager's place .It appeared from the address that he lived very near our place.
     On the Sunday night I got a call from the hospital. There was a new patient who had a cardiac arrest and was put on respirator. I had to go to see the patient . When I went ti ICU I was surprised . She was a 23 years old female who was with her boy friend  and friends , and had the collapsed. The paramedics were called in and the she was resuscitated and was transferred to the hospital. Usually in these situation it is related to drug overdose. and then when something like cardiac arrest occurred the boy friend is never to be found. This was though not usual. Te boy friend was there and so were the parents . and to mu surprise the 'drug screen '  was negative . So she had not taken any drugs ! When I looked at the x-ray I was little more surprised . Usually the x-ray is normal , unless patient had vomited and aspirated ,food or the stomach content go in to the lungs.There was no alcohol involved , so there was less of a chance of aspiration. I was not too sure , it could be a pneumonia and then she had respiratory difficulty and had drop in the oxygen and than the cardiac arrest.
    I talked to the family and started her on antibiotics and then told the family that we will 'support ' her on respirator and allow the 'time' to have brain recovery. There may be a chance that the brain may not recover. So we have to wait and see.
    Next morning I had ordered the ultrasound of the heart as a routine as she had the cardiac arrest. It was shock to me when the  ultrasound was done . It showed that her heart function was reduced to 10 % or less . This was a shock , but it explain the cardiac arrest and the x-ray findings and it became easier to explain to the family . I still had no idea why she had the weak heart .It could be that she had viral infection , that caused the inflammation of the heart muscles that made it weak .
     As time passed this became a mute point as she had not improved and she continued to be in coma . When we did brain wave recordings it was abnormal, but very abnormal . We continued for the couple of days, though we had no hope . Then I talked to the family . I wanted to discontinue every thing ---so called "withdrawal of the life support ". The father was quite open and had accepted the fact that his daughter was not going to wake up .But it was still quite difficult.
      It is never easy to loose some one close to you, and here it was 23 years -young daughter. I do tell patients some philosophy, especially Indian thinking of death and dying . So I told him about Indian thinking that the soul  is permanent and  like we change clothes it changes the body . i.e the concept of reincarnation  'clothes'.
    The father asked me if I was Indian -Hindu , when I said yes , he told me that his 'boss' was also Indian . I knew quite many Indians in our town , so I asked his name . He said , ' you would not know as he is from out of town '. I told him that I knew him . AND HIM IF HIS NAME WAS MR. XXXX, (THE GUY WHO HAD SEEN ME ION THE SATURDAY ) The answer was YES.

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