After 17 years, bullet removed from Rai's neck

After 17 years, bullet removed from Rai's neck

Seventeen years after he was shot in the neck, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai underwent successful surgery on Friday to remove the bullet.

Rai, who walks with a limp, is likely to see an improvement in his stride after rehabilitation at Hyderabad and Chennai.

The politician was shot at during a student agitation in Lucknow for “decriminalisation of student politics.”

For months after that, he had remained paralysed, according to Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Sarita Vihar where the surgery was performed.

Wishing the minister early recovery, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the hospital separately to meet him.

According to the medical bulletin issued by the hospital, Rai had suffered a gunshot wound in his neck in 1999 during a student agitation at Lucknow University “after which he had complete quadriplegia for one and a half years”.

Three years after the incident, he was able to walk, it added.

“The gunshot wound caused spinal cord injury by indirect effect (kinetic energy from a projectile travel, shockwave propagation and temporary cavitation along the track of the bullet) which is miraculous as direct gunshot wound to the neck leads to complete irreversible quadriplegia in most cases,” it said.

“He has had a bullet in his neck from 1999, which lodged at the back of his neck and over time had migrated to burrow under the skin at the back of the upper thoracic spine.”

“However, as the projectile was so easy to access and remove with anaesthesia, the decision was taken to remove the lead bullet from his body,” added the hospital.

The transport minister was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for the surgery.
Spine specialist Dr R G Krishnan operated successfully on Rai and removed the
bullet.

“Rai also has residual neurological impairment in his extremities, mainly in the right upper limb and some imbalance in the lower extremities. He will attend the Apollo Hospital at Hyderabad for upper limb rehabilitation and later move to Apollo Hospital Chennai for ‘gait training’,” the bulletin added.   

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