Indian docs extract bullet from man's heart in unique operation

25 September 2014

In a unique cardiac operation that has made global headlines, doctors at a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, have saved the life of a man who had been walking around for two months with a bullet lodged in his heart.

OperationBharat Sharma, 32, was shot twice during a bank robbery in eastern Uttar Pradesh state in July.

Sharma had immediate surgery to remove a bullet from his waist but surgeons refused to touch the one in his heart, fearing  that such a procedure would kill him.

But on Tuesday Sharma travelled to the private SAL Hospital in Ahmedabad, where the .20-calibre bullet lodged near the apex of his left ventricle was extracted.

The hospital's chief cardiac surgeon, Dr Anil Jain, confirmed he and his team performed the complicated three-hour operation to remove the bullet and stitch up Sharma's heart. He is said to be recovering well from the operation.

''The bullet was stuck horizontally between the valves,'' Jain said. ''Also, since the patient had lost lots of blood after the incident, we had to be very careful.

''The bullet was critically placed. It was just a millimetre away from puncturing the left heart chamber which would have killed him. It is very rare that a bullet is so close and the person does not die. Providence had a role in his survival," Jain said.

The surgeon said Sharma would be able to return to work in a month.

Sharma displayed unsung heroism during the attempted bank heist near Aligarh on 22 July, when he took two bullets but thwarted the escape of the armed robbers.

Apart from the notable skill and dedication shown by Dr Jain and his team, it may be remarked that in a more civilised country, Sharma would have got immediate assistance and official kudos.

In India, however, he had to make his own way from Aligarh to Ahmedabad - with his life almost literally hanging on a thread - and there go to an expensive private hospital for the operation. As the learned Dr Jain remarked, it was sheer providence that he made it.

Sharma now plans to preserve the near-fatal bullet.


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