MIOT's emergency team saves electrocuted teenager whose heart beat was ceased for 15 minutes.

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MIOT's emergency team saves electrocuted teenager whose heart beat was ceased for 15 minutes.

28th Mar 2013

February 5th – A routine busy ICU day was interrupted by a call from our emergency. A young man was brought to us unresponsive – he had no breathing and his heart had stood still for more than 15 minutes.

This young man was electrocuted by a high-tension pole at his work place and collapsed. He was rushed to MIOT through the Chennai roads which took him almost 15 minutes to arrive.

The doctor immediately started compressing his chest, pushing it as hard and fast. His heart had stopped beating. They shocked him, not once but multiple times. After a struggle of 10 minutes they kick started his heart again. It was too feeble and week.

He required advanced life support and heavy doses of medicine to keep his blood pressures just recordable. This not being enough, he arrested again. The doctor was not going to give up that easily. He was revived again and shifted to Intensive care unit for further advanced monitoring and treatment.

This young man was Mr. Balaji – a natural, talented and upcoming dancer. His brother and close friends informed us that Balaji was electrocuted by high tension wire while placing a Flex board for his yet to be opened Dance school. They almost lost hope that they will never be able to see him again.

But the doctors never gave up. They monitored his heart, beat to beat. Arteries and major veins were cannulated. Tubes and drains placed all over. Ice cold fluid rushed and his body packed with ice to get his temperature down to 920 F. This is “Therapeutic Hypothermia” reducing all brain activity, hoping to decrease the brain damage. We had to keep him cold for 36 hours before gradually warming.

There was a strange silence around his bed next two days. A shattered dream needed to be put back and he had to survive.

Day 3

His heart stabilized and needed no more medicines. What about the brain?
He had no blood supply to brain for quite long time. They say even 10 minutes stoppage of blood to brain causes permanent damage.

Stopping Sedation he had continuous seizures requiring intravenous anaesthesia. These are signs of significant brain damage and perhaps permanent damage.

We needed to wait for 72 hours following hypothermia to strictly assess the severity of brain damage.

Day 5

He was just the same. No pain response, no moments nor any eye response, just had spontaneous breaths. All bad signs. Emergency MRI Brain showed significant changes of brain damage. Needed to talk to the family that things are not alright.

Day 7

On Monday six days after the arrest he started opening his eyes to pain. A good sign, but too early to judge. But the doctors were determined to continue with their best care.

Mr. Balaji required a tracheostomy – a hole made in the neck to get him out of ventilator. There were these violent seizures which were so difficult to control.

Doctors came up with an innovative continuous drug delivery, which have been tried but never been proved. It worked and there were no more of these seizures.

2 Weeks later

On routine morning rounds the night doctor said Mr. Balaji is responding to call but still there was no power in his hands and legs.

Next few days were dramatic and encouraging. He started lifting his hands and was able to use them, though his legs were weak.

We were soon able to close his Tracheostomy and he could speak again after 20 days.

He was discharged home after more than three weeks, fully conscious, able to fully use his hands and weakness of legs requiring a wheel chair.

1 Month later

Two weeks from discharge he visited us again. Seemed better in shape and was able to stand with support and had started walking.

Our young talented man has definitely got a long life to live, a bright future and lot to achieve. He opened his dance school and is back where he belongs.