God Decides. We are merely witnesses – Part 3

In 1970s, Brock Road was usually crowded from 7.00 am onwards with employees arriving and departing from the Railway Hospital. It was the same on that eventful day too.
God Decides. We are merely witnesses – Part 3
Dr KM Cherian (Illustration by Varghese Kallada)

Chennai

But amidst all this bustle there was a commotion. A ward boy was running across the road screaming. His voice was not clear but everyone realized that there was some grave danger. Only word they could understand was “Mahalakshmi”. 
Like everyone, Dr. Cherian who had just then reached home from Railway hospital listened carefully, he could grasp …“Mahalakshmi has had an Arrest”. By then the ward boy had reached Dr. Cherian and grabbed his hand; both of them started running fast back to the hospital. 
7 year old Mahalakshmi who was less than 10 kgs was admitted in the Railway Hospital due to blue baby condition. Dr. Cherian recalls remarking to his colleague Dr. M.R. Girinath about the symmetry of her face and the asymmetry of the hole in her heart. An irregular hole was hard to fix and caused worry. 
It was 1975 and Dr. Girinath and Dr. Cherian were two of the few trained Cardiothoracic surgeons in Chennai capable of handling complicated surgeries. They stayed in a small room by the ICU and were on duty 24 hours a day.
Baby Mahalakshmi suffered from Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital abnormality of the heart characterized by pulmonary stenosis, an opening in the interventricular septum, malposition of the aorta over both ventricles and hypertrophy of the right ventricle. The ace team of Anaesthetist and Perfusionist from Sydney gave the confidence to take the case, when no other hospital in the country dared to. 
The surgery went well and all were happy. The next morning she was fully awake and sat up with a beautiful smile, her face was healthy pink. Fully satisfied, Dr. Cherian returned to his residence and changed into casual nightwear of lungi and banyan to relax. That was the moment that the ward boy reached Dr. Cherian’s house and dragged him back to the hospital. Dr. Cherian rushed to the hospital without even locking his house. 
He could not believe; his heart screamed ‘Why?’ He had a sudden flash in his head, “Gauze piece under the heart.”  The scene was quite different from today. 119 Brock Road did not have a telephone extension, nor a mobile phone. If it was today, he could have been charged for negligence under CPA. Fortunately child survived and also more than 40 years ago nobody was operating on children below 10 kgs.
While the Sydney team was trying to revive her, Dr. Cherian directly opened the breastbones of the child. When he inserted his 2 fingers under the heart, to his great surprise, the gauze piece was there!
The child was then stabilized. Then everyone looked at Dr. Cherian in wonder. It was then he realized that he was still wearing his lungi, banyan and bathroom slippers. 
Says Dr. Cherian, “I realized then that sincere efforts would always succeed. God does answer all committed souls. Everyone at Railway Hospital was equally committed. It was the culture inculcated across all levels of employees. We were all in perfect sync when it came to sincerity. It is a Tribute to the Railway Team.” “One thing fills me with wonder to this day – the energy of that ward boy. His headlong rush to my residence. His willingness & helplessness to save that child almost shook me that day. 
Why should he become restless? Why should he cry? Who was that child for him? Why should he panic if she was going to die? What can bother him?” Who can answer these questions? To me, he looked like God Himself at that time. 
The writer is Director of X Factor Group of companies

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