Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Bypass surgery gone wrong

More than three weeks after the death of Jayant Bhuyan, deputy director general at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and chief executive officer of the India Brand Equity Foundation, at Max Devki Devi Heart and Vascular Institute in Saket in New Delhi, the hospital is yet to share the results of an internal investigation, which is expected to shed some light on the exact reasons for this death.

Bhuyan passed away on 6 October due to a medical error during a bypass surgery — an operation that today has a success rate of about 99 per cent.

While Max Hospital has admitted that "some error" was committed, what exactly happened during the operation still remains unclear. "The internal investigation is almost complete and we will share the results with the family in a couple of days," insists Dr Pervez Ali Ahmed, the hospital’s executive medical director.

Bhuyan, 58, was admitted after a minor heart attack at the Max hospital on 29 September morning. While he recovered quickly, tests showed extensive blockage in three arteries and Bhuyan was advised to go for a bypass surgery. The following Saturday Bhuyan was operated upon by Dr I.S. Virdi. In the evening, his family and friends were informed that the operation had gone well. It is only the following morning that Dr Virdi informed Bhuyan’s wife, Ramola ,that her husband’s brain had suffered extensive damage. "Dr Virdi told me that during the operation he gave my husband a wrong tube that was later removed, but that oxygen was pumped in causing a massive insult to the brain," explains Ramola.

Dr Virdi performed an on-pump surgery wherein the surgeon sutures cannulae (small tubes) into the heart to take over the functions of the heart and lungs. Alternative methods of coronary artery bypass surgery have been developed such as off-pump surgery. At Wockhardt and Apollo Hospitals, 90 per cent of bypass surgeries are off-pump — as they are less invasive and the patient’s recovery is faster.

Noemie Bisserbe

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