And the roses were blood red…….

Yes…I was getting married….There was a feeling of delicious expectation mixed with uncertainty….I  was to go on leave from next week…..I was busy in my room in the RMO quarters packing….The intercom burred…..It was the Trauma ward….

When I saw Vinod, a twelve year old boy, I was shocked….His face, especially around the lower jaw was swollen like a football…The skin was bruised and dark…He seemed to have slight difficulty in breathing and ominously, there was a faint tinge of cyanosis around his lips….

Vinod’s father, a burly flower seller from the Dadar flower market and his mother, a small woman gave me the story…..Vinod had developed severe toothache and was taken to the dentist the day before…The dentist made a diagnosis of a abscess at the root of his molar tooth and incised it….”He hasn’t stopped bleeding since then doctor” the father told me….”His face has been swelling up like this since” added the mother…He had a tendency to bleed even following small injuries….He would cry with pain and his joints became swollen frequently….Despite being an intelligent child, he had poor marks due to his poor attendance at school….He had two younger sisters who were well and an older brother who died in childhood following convulsions….

Vinod was fully conscious…..”I want to grow up and become a doctor” he declared, speaking between gasps for breath….”We will definitely see that you become a surgeon” I assured him…but in my heart, I knew we were in for a tough time….I was dealing with a killer disease for which the medical professionals were poorly equipped in India of the seventies….Vinod had hemophilia….The only treatment options available were whole blood or fresh plasma…..I called Anant, the medical registrar….Anant was one person I could trust to go to hell and back to save patients…

“Anant” I said, “I need to do a tracheostomy…his airway is blocking up”……If I made an incision, he would bleed to death….”Guru” said Anant…” we will cover him with fresh blood and plasma transfusions to increase the clotting factors while you do the trach….We will give lasix to reduce the load on his heart…we will have to take the risk….”

When I explained the situation to Vinod’s father, he sank to his knees, wailing….His mother proved to be stronger….”Go ahead Doctor Baba…Vithoba will protect him…” she said…

I have never been so careful in traching a patient….I cauterized even the smallest bleeders….Fortunately the thyroid isthmus was not enlarged making the approach to the trachea easy… I heaved a sigh of relief as the trach tube went in….But it was sickening to see blood oozing from under the dressings…For a surgeon in training, it was a very frustrating sight….He needed the clotting factors fast or he would exsanguinate…..

Anant was busy on the phone speaking to several medical representatives….We wanted cryoprecipitate or factor 8 concentrate….Both were very expensive and not easily available….Suddenly Anant gave a strangled cry of triumph…..He had tapped a source for cryoprecipitate, and the company had decided not to charge for it! We felt as though we hit a lode of pure gold…We were going to win after all……

Vinod received the cryoprecipitate…His oozing stopped completely….We transferred him to the ward….He became quite a pet of the nurses and the other patients…He was very mischievous, following me on my daily rounds….His parents were there all the time, sleeping in the hospital corridor….

“Doctor Baba, You are getting married?” asked Vinod….Yes, I said, I was to go on leave the next day….”We brought these for your wife to be” said his mother, shyly handing over a bunch of the most beautiful roses….”Please give them to her”…. Naina was thrilled with them….

When I came back from leave, I rushed to the ward….Vinod was nowhere to be seen….”Where is that young boy with hemophilia?” I asked….The nurse looked disturbed…”He died the day after you went on leave”…..I was aghast….How did this happen? He suddenly threw a convulsion and before anybody realized it, he went into respiratory arrest and passed away…..It was all so sudden…..I was broken…..

I still remember the bunch of red roses that Vinod had given me….They were the deepest blood red in color…….

Author: drshirahatti

I am a surgeon, specializing in Gastrointestinal Surgery...I have headed the Departments of GI surgery, General Surgery and Medical Education.....I also was the Dean of two large government hospitals in Mumbai.....I like reading about cultures and like to travel....

3 thoughts on “And the roses were blood red…….”

  1. I acn understand the trauma but in the end its up to the Lord above. Your act made his last few hours of immortal life peaceful & less painful

    Like

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