CHENNAI: Sports are as important as academics. But the case of 18-year-old Prakash from Gerugambakkam near Kundrathur highlights the fact that one has to be careful while playing and not dismiss any symptom of chronic pain as minor.
The ITI student, who is a kabbadi player, suffered one of the most uncommon sports injuries. Doctors diagnosed it as post traumatic diaphragmatic hernia, where his entire stomach and intestine moved to the left side of the chest cavity, as there was a rupture in the diaphragm. The movement compressed the lung and pushed his heart to the right side of the chest.
With no appropriate treatment for six days after the injury, timely intervention by doctors at the surgical gastroenterology department at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) saved his life. The complex and life-saving surgical procedure was performed for free under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.
At first, the teen suffered from pain for three days after he played kabbadi on May 10, when he had suffered a trauma. He dismissed it as a minor one and never informed his mother. But his situation turned worse and he began experiencing breathing problems and vomiting in the subsequent days.
With repeated X-rays, doctors at a private hospital found there was fluid and air in his chest, and inserted an intercostal drainage tube to remove the fluid. Yet Prakash did not find any relief. A CT scan then revealed that the teen’s abdominal content had moved through the diaphragm to chest.
Prakash was then referred to RGGGH. But by the time he reached the hospital, he was found to be anaemic as there was no normal blood flow, with high pulse rate and breathlessness. He was taken for an emergency surgery after the doctors gave him blood, IV fluids and antibiotics.
The team of doctors including assistant professor Dr Amudhan, Dr Thiruvarul and Dr Chandrasekar that performed the surgery found that Prakash had a rupture measuring 5 cmx2 cm in the hemidiaphragm and a perforation in the stomach.
“This kind of injury is possible when there is enormous pressure on the abdomen. But this injury in a sport like this is uncommon. In his case, a midline incision was made and later another incision was created on the left side to reach the chest cavity and move the stomach back to its place. The rent and the perforation were repaired,” explained Dr S M Chandramohan, HoD, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, RGGGH.
A day after the surgery, Prakash was put on tube feeding. On Tuesday, he was all ready to get discharged from the hospital.
“Every child has to play, but they have to be careful. And it is even more important that they inform parents if they feel unwell. Prakash always had a passion for sports. But this time, he didn’t eat for four days after the injury and was admitted to the hospital only on the fifth day because he never told us about his pain. The timely intervention by doctors saved my son,” said Prakash’s mother Meena.