The team had adopted video endoscopy method to remove the battery from the food pipe of Tharun, 48 hours after he swallowed the foreign object. Tharun is the eldest son of painter Mathiazhagan and homemaker Dhanam. On September 28, Tharun, playing outside his residence, accidentally swallowed a lithium button battery from the radio. Following this, he developed severe stomach pain and vomiting. Doctors at the Nagapattinam government hospital found through an X-ray that the battery blocked the food pipe of the boy. Initially, first aid was given and he was referred to Tiruvarur government hospital and then to Thanjavur Government Medical College Hospital for further medical assistance. Being a rare and medical emergency, which requires expert and specialty care, he was later referred to the Institute of Child Health, Egmore, Chennai.
The parents rushed the child to the Institute of Child Health, Egmore, on September 30, where a team of pediatricians and ENT surgeons examined him and realised the need of endoscopy/surgical intervention by experts. Hence, they discussed the issue with the surgical gastroenterology team at Government Stanley Medical College Hospital over the phone and subsequently the child was transferred in 108 ambulance to the Institute of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant of Stanley Medical College. After consultations with the Director and Head of the Department, P Ravichandran, and C Sugumar, a team headed by S Jeswanth, Duty Assistant S–urgeon R Prabhakaran and Duty Anaesthetist Arul Raj, along with senior doctors and staff, endoscopically removed the button battery successfully from his food pipe under anesthesia around 2300 hrs. Sharing the news of the successful surgery here October 3, Dean of Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Dr Ponnambala Namasivayam, said that the procedure was successful and the child was saved from a major medical complication.
Tharun later was shifted to intensive care ward for overnight observation. The operation theatre was also prepared to proceed with surgery in case of endoscopic failure. Asked what kind of medical complications could have occurred if the surgery had been delayed, he said, ”If it was other kinds of foreign bodies like coin, hook or pins, there would be only a pain or block. Since it was battery, some chemical reactions have started to occur inside the food pipe. Due to this, the internal walls of the food pipe had started to erode. So, we hurried up the surgical process and did it immediately.’ The doctor further added that even now, the erosion on the internal walls of the food pipe remain and so the patient will be subjected to further medical assistance until the wounds heal. ‘It may also lead to formation of pores and holes in the food pipe and the intestine. So, we need to be careful in further treatment also,’ he added. The Dean said the complete surgery has been done free of cost under the health insurance scheme of the Chief Minister. ”If the same surgery had taken place in a private hospital, it would have cost from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh,” he said, and added that, following the surgery, on 2 October, the child was given oral fluids which he tolerated well.