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Night time airlift, 9-hr surgery: Soldier gets back severed hand

'The operation witnessed great synergy within the armed Forces as the IAF facilitated the transportation within an hour of the Indian Army requesting for the airlift,' said an officer.
alyan Ray
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 20:55 IST
Last Updated : 12 April 2024, 20:55 IST

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New Delhi: A night-landing of a C-130J aircraft, quick thinking by men in uniform and a nine-hour surgery paid dividends as doctors in Delhi were able to stitch back the severed palm of a soldier after it was chopped off in an accident in Leh.

On April 9, Naik Konchok Gailsin (39) was brought to the Military Garrison Hospital in Leh with a severed left hand, with complete amputation of the thumb and the index finger.

The Ladakh Scouts regiment soldier sustained the injury while operating a machine. At the hospital, he was stabilised and kept in the intensive care unit. The doctors realised that the soldier would need a specialised hand-attachment surgery. However, such skilled surgeons and support staff were not available in Leh.

A decision was taken to transport Gailsin to the Army Hospital Research and Referral (AHRR) in Delhi for advanced medical care to save his appendages. The amputated organ was kept in a cold container.

With a critical 6-8 hour window for action, the Indian Air Force swiftly dispatched one of its C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft. It landed in Leh using night vision equipment and evacuated the soldier to Delhi.

"The operation witnessed great synergy within the armed Forces as the IAF facilitated the transportation within an hour of the Indian Army requesting for the airlift," said an officer.

In the national capital, the soldier was immediately moved to AHRR from Palam Technical Area under medical supervision. He underwent a highly complex nine-hour surgery for the reimplantation of his hand, including the amputated thumb and index finger. He is now stable and under post-surgery care.

"The case demonstrates the Indian Army's ethos of leaving no soldier behind and ensuring the best possible outcome in the face of adversity. It also highlights the synergy between the services," the officer added.

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Published 12 April 2024, 20:55 IST

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