Hyderabad: In a freak, frightening accident, a sharp pointed pencil pierced the heart of a six-year-old boy, who survived to tell the tale. Charan from Narsampet town near Warangal had kept the sharpened pencil in his shirt pocket and fell on his school premises while going home on Friday evening. The pencil pierced his skin, went between the ribs and entered his heart.
Dr Sameer Diwale, chief cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon at Maxcure Hospitals, Madhapur, who operated on the child said, “The pencil penetrated the heart in an oblique direction. In doing so, it missed the left breast bone in the ribs and pierced the heart muscles.”
The heart muscles in a six-year-old are only 5 mm thick. Due to the sharpness of its tip and the oblique direction of entry, the pencil went one centimetre inside the heart. Seven cm of the 19-cm pencil had gone into Charan’s chest, and one cm was inside the heart.
Neither Charan, his friends or teachers at the school tried to remove the pencil. The teachers rushed him straight to the Warangal MGM Hospital, 60 km from Narasampet, in the school van. At the MGM Hospital, doctors allowed the heart and the pencil to beat together and advised the parents to go to the Maxcure Superspecialty Hospital at Kondapur, 170 km away, as it requires specialised surgery and care.
Dr Diwale said, “Doctors at the peripheral hospital didn’t try to remove the pencil. They gave antibiotics and a tetanus injection which ensured that there was no infection. That was a very wise decision. They could gauge from the scans that there would be heavy loss of blood and it requires expert intervention.”
On Saturday morning, when Charan came in, Dr Diwale and his team were shocked to find only the body of the pencil outside and the pointed conical part inside. The CT scan confirmed the same and as antibiotics were administered blood levels were stable. A decision to do open heart surgery was taken as there was no other way to remove the pencil.
The pencil went entered the right ventricle of the heart. Dr Diwale explained, “The wood worked like ‘a cork on a wine bottle’ Till the time the wood was inside the body it didn’t allow profuse bleeding. Any attempt to remove it would have lead to severe bleeding.”
The doctor was amazed by the case as he had not seen such a case in his 20 years of practice. He said, “It was a rare accident as no human can do such an act.”
On his birthday Charan has rebirth
Six-year-old B. Charan got the gift of life on his birthday, which incidentally was on Saturday. Charan’s father B. Motilal, a farmer at Narsampet, Warangal, was working when he heard of the incident and rushed to the school.
Recalling the initial hours, Mr Motilal said, “We were very scared but doctors at the MGM Hospital in Warangal told us that they will not touch this case as it requires expert care and equipment. They referred us to Dr Sameer Diwale and made arrangements to send us by ambulance.”
The MGM doctors informed Maxcure Hospital about the case. Though the distance from Warangal MGM Hospital to Maxcure is 170 km the family reached only early on Saturday. Mr Motilal said: “MGM doctors told us very clearly to not touch the pencil. They did not make any attempt to remove it. They clearly told us to let it beat with the heart and gave medicines. The ambulance driver was instructed to drive slowly and an attendant accompanied us. We left Warangal at 1 am. We gave Charan small sips of water from time to time.”
Charan’s mother Sirisha said, “We were just praying. July 11 was his birthday and he was looking forward to celebrating it at school. We had promised that we would buy chocolates for his friends. It’s a rebirth of my child.”