KOLKATA: For about one and a half years, he has seen gory gunfights and their after-effects from close quarters during his stint as a chef for the US army at the Kandahar airport. But it was a freak accident that brought Biswajit Mondal face-to-face with the worst crisis of his life.
The 27-year-old lay crippled with a knee injury for more than a year. Three successive surgeries —one at an Afghanistan hospital and the other two in Dubai hospital —were of no help. In fact, the problem worsened as he developed life-threatening complications due to a vein graft surgery that went wrong. Brought to Kolkata, Biswajit is now back on his feet after a limb-saving surgery and extensive therapy.
“I was on the job when a wooden door accidentally fell on my left leg. It left me with a battered leg and knee dislocation,” Biswajit reminisced from his Nadia home. With three badly injured knee ligaments and a severely damaged major artery, Biswajit was rushed to a hospital in Afghanistan. Within hours he underwent vein graft surgery. But he subsequently developed compartment syndrome – a condition in which there is an increased pressure on a muscle compartment, which leads to muscle and nerve damage, affecting blood flow.
“I was then shifted to Dubai, where I was operated on twice in January 2013 for the compartment syndrome,” said Biswajit. Even after treatment that lasted for almost one and half months, Biswajit did not get much relief. In fact, the condition got even more complicated with the wound getting infected. Biswajit’s employers then flew him back to Kolkata.
Even in Kolkata, few doctors turned down the case seeing the complexities involved till he hot in tough with othopaedic surgeon Gaurav Gupta. “His limb was in a mess. The graft was not in the right place and along with the infection, there was a threat to his limb. It was a challenging task. No wonder some doctors did not give him encouraging response,” said Gupta.
At Fortis Hospital in Kolkata, Biswajit was first treated for the infection. Though one the ligament healed with rehabilitation therapy, he had to undergo arthroscopic surgery for the other two, which was conducted in two phases. The first one was in June 2013 where one ligament (posterior cruciate ligament) was reconstructed using Biorci screws, bio-absorbable screw. This was a challenging procedure as it was done within a couple of millimeters of the weak and scarred vein graft which supplied blood to his leg.
The second surgery was conducted in January this year for the third ligament (anterior cruciate ligament) again with the same screws. With the two surgeries and the therapies that followed the patient is back on his feet and is waiting to join work again.
“I am the only earning member in the family and my parents and wife were worried about my condition. But I was confident that I would be up on my feet once again if I get proper treatment. Now I can swim, cycle and jog without any difficulty,” said Biswajit.