Originally Posted by svsantosh
I have never met you, but I can truly feel your loss of someone who was in your life for over 2 decades... :(
Per your request, the 1st PM you sent me is pasted below.
Thanks for sharing my grief. As per requests PM-ed by some members, here are more details of the tragedy.
On the morning of 27th July Trrk stepped into his backyard. The recent rains had left the area waterlogged but that morning, the water had mostly receded and although it was covered in slush, he decided to brave it in order to take some measurements. He fell with his first step into slush. As he later explained, " I expected my left foot to sink into the slush, instead it slipped and I fell down backwards and landed on my right buttocks." He was alone at the time and his voice wouldn't have carried into the house. He struggled to his feet and hobbled home. Struggled up the stairs, changed his soiled clothes, even had a bath and hobbled downstairs. Since the pain persisted, he went to the hospital. The X-Ray revealed a longish fracture above the ankle, to the fibula, the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. His leg was put in a temporary cast ( from about 12 inches above the ankle upto his toes) and he was sent home with instruction to avoid any pressure on the injured foot. He was asked to return a week later for a permanent cast. Being heavy built, he found it very difficult to manoeuvre himself even for visits to the toilet. And he was loathe to use the bedpan. He didn't find the walker very helpful either. When I visited him on 29th July ( 2 days after the fall ), he was quite cheerful although a little concerned that he was unable to be in the shop during the Onam season. We spent about 3 hrs chatting and joking about visitors leaving their autograph on his cast. He laughingly brushed away my attempts saying the cast will anyway be replaced soon. I wished him quick recovery and returned to Kollam. I did not notice anything amiss. About 3/4 days later, he complained of breathlessness and feeling very tired after the exertion of going to the toilet and back. In his own words, "Just going to the toilet and back leaves me panting like a dog".
When he went to see the Ortho to replace his cast, he met his Physician of many years and reported about his breathlessness. An ECG was taken and since it showed no variations, the doctor attributed it to anxiety and elevated BP. He advised Trrk to simply continue his BP tablets and try not to feel so anxious.
In later conversations with me, Trrk used to say that his breathing problem was persisting. But since the ECG was clear and he had no chest pain, we never suspected anything serious. Instead he would console himself saying that because he was over cautious not to lose his balance, maybe he was holding his breath while walking and so was feeling breathless later.
On the morning of the fateful day(7th Aug), he took his bath at around 11.00am. His wife as usual was with him when he was changing. He complained of giddiness and while his wife went to bring a stool he fell down and had a short spell of fits and his mouth was frothing. His wife immediately called their shop, just across the road for help and simultaneously tried to call the doctor. The doctor could not be contacted and with the help of persons who rushed from the shop they tried to move Trrk to the bed. By then the fits had stopped and Trrk refused help and came to a sitting position on the floor. He complained of difficulty in breathing and asked for a pillow to lie down. But his breathing problem would not allow him to relax and while still seated on the floor, he propped himself up against a wall. The ambulance arrived and they prepared to move him downstairs and into the ambulance. By then Trrk seems to have lost consciousness and wasn't struggling for breath. At the hospital he was declared 'brought dead'. What is written below is information I have gathered in discussion with various doctors and an advocate who is fighting a similar case against a hospital.
It turns out that the cause of death was Fat Embolism. Any average doctor knows that in cases of bone injury, the bone marrow seeps into the blood and results in Fat Embolism. This stuff travels in the blood stream and tends to block the arteries, veins etc. In Trrk's case, his lungs or lung passages gradually got filled with Embolised fat and that explains his breathlessness. Symptoms ignored by his Physician. He went by the ECG alone. And since the problem was happening within the lungs, the ECG of the heart will not show any variation. On the fateful day, the Embolised fat led to Pulmonary Edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs). This affected the pumping of the heart and it led to Heart failure.
In retrospect I'll say Trrk was done in at various stages.
- On the very first day, the Ortho could have realised the possibility of Fat Embolism and administered drugs to counter it. This apparently is standard practice these days even in surgery cases where the patient will be confined to the bed for any length of time.
- The Physician, when told of breathing difficulty should have instantly realised the cause as Fat Embolism and started Heparin ( the drug that easily dissolves Embolised fat )
- When breathlessness persisted, Trrk himself or anyone in proximity with him (including yours truly) could have insisted on seeking better medical intervention.
Alas FATE had other plans and we lost one of the nicest persons on Earth.