Sometimes it’s just meeting the right person at right time that brings the whole difference. We met with Dr Hitesh Garg in March 2013 as a spine specialist in relation to my father Mr Balwinder Sharma’s treatment of a spine injury and today we know him as one of the finest spine surgeons in India.
My father had a fall in Washroom on 5th October 2012 that led to a fracture in his L2 vertebrae. On initial diagnosis Local orthopedics termed it as mild fracture that needs proper bed rest for 6 weeks or so and prescribed him with pain killers and calcium tablets. But as the days progressed things started getting worse.
Being alcoholic in past, pain killers caused a huge damage to his Liver and he developed symptoms like Jaundice, Vomiting and Drowsiness. He was admitted to Fortis, Mohali on 17th October 2012 under an increasing trend of Billirubin (@ 17). Doctors at Fortis diagnosed him with Liver Cirrhosis and advised an emergency treatment to stop the further damage to Liver. All pain killers were withdrawn and prioritization of treatment shifted from Spine to Liver. Cirrhosis is in itself is a lethal disease that drains out everything not just from the patient but also from the family of the patient who see their loved one struggling for life every day.
For next 4 months period he got admitted into the hospital for 4 times with complaints of Jaundice, Ascites, UTIs. Doctors also putted him on steroid therapy to stop the progress of Cirrhosis and get him out of the complications. By God’s Grace, the liver started responding to the treatment given, but the complications of cirrhosis were not getting resolved like persisting UTIs, Reflux etc. By the time, even after getting a complete bed rest for more than 4 months, pain in the back was not improved and my father was still not able to stand and walk, in fact the pain was now unbearable. It was from back to the left leg, worst at the knee and we also observed that his left leg was getting weak.
Under all these observations, our gastroenterologist advised us to now consult a neurologist for the spine. Initial investigations were performed in Fortis, Mohali only where again a contrast MRI was done on my father. The MRI now came up with the result that the fracture was not the mild one; instead it was a burst fracture and not only in L2 vertebrae but also in L1 and L4. L2 vertebrae was merely into pieces pressing hard upon the spinal cord. Doctors explained that he needs a surgery without which he will not be able to stand and walk. Then many misdiagnosis like TB in spine, malignancy etc also started coming up, which was very scary. Doctors at Fortis also conducted CT guided FNAC, Bone Scan and other tests to remove their doubts, but nothing was getting clear. Our gastroenterologist advised us hard us to do the best for spine and get him stand otherwise his body was prone to the risks of many infections due to a suffering liver in hand + persisting UTIs. Reason for persisting UTI was also linked to spine as the PVR in ultrasound was indicating a stress. Then, in March 2013 we met with Dr Hitesh Garg, in Sunam, Punjab who had recently performed a successful spine surgery for a complicated case of scoliosis in one of our knowns. After looking at all the reports and physical examination, he removed all our doubts about malignancy/Tb or other complications of Spine. He called it a burst fracture that has to be dealt with surgery and told us that my father still has got fairly good chances of revival after surgery. But being a case of liver cirrhosis utmost care was to be taken, so he advised to get a clearance from our gastroenterologist. Our gastroenterologist termed it a case of “High Risk Surgery” as liver was already suffering and it was dubious that it will be able to take a general anesthesia and medicines that are un-avoidable in an operation. Understanding all the risk Dr Hitesh Garg decided to go for it as it was not in a stage of further avoidance. In April 2013 my father got admitted into Artemis, Gurgaon for the surgery.
Being a complicated case of Liver cirrhosis + persisting UTIs, Dr Hitesh Garg took utmost care for preparing the body to deal with the surgery. Gastroenterology, anesthetics, neurologists and Dr Hitesh Garg himself made a team to make it a success. He was putted on antibiotics to deal with UTIs and any others risks of post surgery infections. Liver performance was continuously monitored before the surgery and finally on 25th April my father underwent the surgery by Dr. Hitesh Garg and it went well. Liver remained under regulations with slight variations in LFTs that were brought to normal soon. Pain from the leg and back was relived after the surgery. UTIs were also gone and neurologically he was doing absolutely fine. The surgery included fixation and stabilization of the spine with a road and screws. My father started walking with a tailor brace and walker after 1 month of surgery, the precaution of 1 month before a stand up was taken because bones of my father were extremely weak due to a long history of diabetes.
After 8 months of being into hospitals, procedures, tests, complications we all were drown mentally, emotionally and economically but the surgery changed our future. Now, our hopes for the life ahead get stronger whenever we see my father walking without any support and go to office for work. Thank you is not just enough to express our gratitude towards Dr Hitesh Garg who made this all possible. May God bless him and his team for helping the families in bouncing back from their toughest times. Thank You !!