The Incredible Ordeal and Odyssey of a Cancer Survivor!

The Incredible Ordeal and Odyssey of a Cancer Survivor!
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Dr. Aasif Shah

This narration is a painful tale of a young, enthusiastic and handsome man, Manzoor Ahmad Shah that begins with an unusual fever on 13th August 2016. Manzoor was working in his office and when the entire valley was under the grip of an intense curfew. Without sharing his agony to anyone at home, Manzoor went straightaway to a Srinagar based private Hospital for consultation where he was diagnosed with chronic intestinal inflammation and oncological related issues by a local doctor based on his USG and colonoscopy reports.
Manzoor, after the diagnosis, called his family which was shocked to see him admitted in hospital. On the same day, the doctor recommended an instant surgery and operated on him the following day without a second thought. Later, it appeared that the doctor has scratched and caused a terrible wound in his large intestines. Without noticing the same, the medic stitched and left him in the ICU where it was observed that something scary was leaking out of his abdomen and which got worse with the passing days.
When the young man regained consciousness, he was frightened to see an ileostomy bag attached to his body. Out of fear and discomposure, the doctor repeated his surgery through different tactics including the use of ‘Human Albumin’ but failed to fix the injury that caused the leakage. Human albumin is a concentrated solution that is believed to have greater potential of wound healing. However, surprisingly the doctor found it allergic to patient.
Subsequently, the medic advised Manzoor’s family members to fly to the reputed Max Hospital in New Delhi for further and immediate consultation. It was 27th August 2016 when the patient was introduced to Max hospital. As soon as the team of doctors from the Oncology Department scrutinized the medical reports of the patient, they seemed shocked and startled at the surgical blunder from the Srinagar based doctor. It looked as if the case had turned out to be dark and gloomy for them. With little hope, the patient was made to undergo surgery but to no avail.
Based on the medical records of the Srinagar based doctor that human albumin was allergic to patient, they did did not use it at all. During the 30 odd days at Max fighting the ventilator, the doctors experiment , but they could see no hope(not even in the least bit) The doctors finally discharged him by giving a heart-breaking news to his family members that no recovery was observed from the patient.
After three major surgeries at Max, Manzoor’s body weight got reduced 80 to 38 kgs. The family paid a hefty amount of 36 lakhs as medical bill to the Max Hospital after selling some tangible assets in hopelessness and devastation. The doctors suggested his family to shift the patient to the local institute of the valley without incurring an additional cost. The family fled back to Srinagar and moved to SKIMS straightaway.
After going through the reports of the patient from local to the Max hospital, the doctors did not even dare to touch his skinny body. They advised his family that the patient had little (less than 5%) survival chances and that there was nothing doctors could do for him and there was no surgery either that can fix him. Meanwhile, the Srinagar based local doctor called his family and said that he had a dream in which he had performed a successful balloon experiment on an ailing patient and he wanted to repeat the same experiment in real. The family, which was in the quest of hope agreed to his request. The medic performed the balloon experiment that turned out to be barren, ineffective and fruitless. Devastated and with dashed hopes, the family returned home.
Everyone from adult to old tried their best to uplift his hopes while visiting him. They used to offer prayers for him in faith but sadly things exacerbated intensely with each passing day. With uncontrollable shivering fever and severe body pain, Manzoor had left all hopes for his survival. He had a sad inclination that he would go to sleep and not wake up the next hour. It was the same local doctor again who approached his family members and suggested them for some experimental treatment through stunts. For that matter, he told them to fly to New Delhi yet again at ‘Fortis Escorts Hospital’ and assured them that he himself was going to fly with them. (Probably, the doctor realized that the patient was messed up because of his huge blunder).
The suggestion was something that held some promise of hope. The patient was brought to New Delhi for the second time but unfortunately the doctors denied operating on him as his weight had dropped drastically. With no option, they returned home in despair, once again. Everybody started counting days to Manzoor’s death. After spending few days at home, he was taken to SKIMS hospital again as it is very unusual for any family to bear the pain of their son, daughter, mother or an ailing father. When he was lying on a bed screaming out loud, he was visited by an unknown doctor (who later turned out to be Dr. Fazal Qadir Parray). He , after going through the history of the patient from the day one, realized that the patient was too close to his death, but he showed his desire to operate him for one, final time.
After q few days, he with his team, operated on him for nearly 10 hours and they used same ‘Human Albumin’ to heal the wound. Just before the operation, Dr. Fazal asked his patient(Manzoor) that the final attempt of operating on him would be just an experiment where he has only 5 to 10% survival chances. So, fed up with his life, the patient put his request to doctor, ‘That if he comes across something dangerous and lose his hope while performing the final surgery’ his life should be ended in the operation theater as it would be very difficult for his family to carry his burden with nothing in their hands.’
Once the doctors were done with their surgery, Dr. Fazal had incredibly good news for Manzoor’s family: the surgery had gone extremely well. The patient on the deathbed exhibited significant recovery from a complicated wound. He even started digesting properly. Besides, he started to gain weight.
Manzoor was discharged from the hospital on the Ist of July 2017. No one could believe that he had recovered significantly from his dreadful disease. Almighty Allah had mercy on him and today let me tell you that after undergoing six major surgeries, Manzoor resumed work in last week of August 2017. The survivor is very thankful to Almighty Allah and very gratefully acknowledges the efforts, cooperation and humble attitude of Dr. Fazal Qadir Parray and his associates including the gracious Dr. Asif Mehraj.
A few days back, Manzoor called me over phone and said that when a doctor makes a mistake, the news goes viral and many people start losing their trust on doctors but when he is doing something extra-ordinary for a patient, the event is not celebrated and the contribution of the doctor is not acknowledged. He believes that we are good at criticizing others but very poor at recognizing when it comes to their good work. He added that ‘let people give it a serious thought’.
P.S: The story is based on real facts of a young man, namely Manzoor Ahmad Shah from Papachan, Bandipora. He is a cousin of the author who is a Postdoc Fellow from IIT Madras and currently working as Assistant Professor at GDC, Bandipora. The name of the Srinagar based ‘Private Hospital’ and the ‘Doctor’ has been intentionally kept anonymous to avoid any conflict of interest.

The author can be reached at: aasif127@gmail.com