Miracle surgery at Badulla General Hospital | Sunday Observer

Miracle surgery at Badulla General Hospital

20 November, 2022
The medical team that participated in the surgery
The medical team that participated in the surgery

The location is the Badulla General Hospital. Two weeks ago a patient arriving at the hospital for treatment had complained of various ailments including the inability to consume food despite the feeling of hunger.

Neuro surgeon Dr. Lakmal Hewage 

Anesthetist Dr. Indunil Karunaratne 

A doctor attached to the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital had recommended the patient gets admitted in order to undergo a physical examination. The doctor who later examined him realising the patient had previously undergone neurosurgery then refers him to the Neurosurgery Department of the hospital. He was once again examined there and directed to undergo a scan.

The scan surprised the doctor as it showed a large mass, possibly a tumour covering half of the patient’s abdominal cavity. On observation, the doctor realised the mass was growing gradually and could become a threat to the patient. Therefore, it was decided the mass should be removed through a surgery.

However, this would prove a challenge, as a tumour that large had not been removed together with a neurosurgery previously. The surgery was then discussed with the Director of the hospital, Dr Upul Karunaratne, who then took steps to bring in surgeons and staff and set up other services required to carry out the surgery.

Following a six-hour operation the tumour was safely removed by the surgeons. According to Neuro surgeon Dr. Lakmal Hewage, the doctors had paid more attention to the patient’s complaints during his visit as he had undergone a previous surgery as well. “The scan revealed there was a mass near his spinal cord. It was observed the mass had in fact begun to grow from his spinal cord and was covering over half of his abdominal cavity.

Neuro surgeon Dr. Lakmal Hewage and surgeon Specialist Oncologist Dr. Niroshan Atalugama with the removed tumou Pics By - Nishantha Abeygunawardana (Badulla Group Cor.)

“The tumour was growing by pushing aside the vital organs to keep the body alive such as the spleen, liver, and the right kidney. We also observed that if this situation continues, these organs may be damaged. It became clear to us that especially if the ureters are blocked, kidney function can be impaired. We also observed that if this mass exerts pressure on the liver and gallbladder it can have a great impact on their function. This tumour appeared to have spread close to the main blood vessel as well”, he said.

“It is not easy to remove such a tumour by surgery. We also found out that such a large tumour related to the nerves has not been removed by surgery abroad as well. Because of that, it became clear to us that this operation is a serious task, But refusing to back down we took it up with the support of the hospital director” he added.

According to Dr. Hewage the main challenge was to carry out the operation without causing any damage to the kidneys, ureters and other organs. Specialist Urologist Dr. Anuradha Wijewardena and Specialist Oncologist Dr. Niroshan Atalugama assisted the surgeons including Dr. Hewage, Nuero Surgeon Dr. Dulmin Perera and surgeon Dr Nishantha Liyandipita in this task.

“The entire staff supported the six hour surgery. We are able to remove the tumour which weighed around a kilo safely due to the support extended by all”, he said.

According to him, the patient was fortunate the tumour was found at this stage and not much later as it would have grown larger and posed more complications. Dr. Hewage thanked everyone who supported in carrying out the surgery.

Tasked with keeping the patient under anaesthesia for six hours, Anesthetist Dr. Indunil Karunaratne says it was no easy task.

“We had to maintain a balanced body temperature under six hours of special anaesthesia and cardiac stabilisation anaesthesia methods. It is a serious task of keeping the patient under anaesthesia for six hours and bringing the patient back to consciousness”, he said.

The patient is now in recovery after undergoing this life saving surgery who has now been given a new lease of life. The service and untiring efforts of the Badulla Hospital, its doctors and staff for the under privileged people of areas such Moneragala, Bibile, Medagama and Siyambalanduwa must be commended.