Fast action helps save Caymanian’s life

Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil and motorcycle accident victim John Miller III.

It is against the odds that young Caymanian John Miller III is still alive.

When Mr. Miller was involved in a motorcycle accident last October, he suffered internal injuries severe enough to kill most people.

“His aorta was damaged,” said Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, chief cardiac surgeon of Health City Cayman Islands, referring to the human body’s main artery. He added that usually when people suffer this kind of injury, medical statistics indicate that 90 of the victims die before they reach the hospital, and of the 10 percent who make it alive to the hospital, half of them die within 24 hours.

Mr. Miller’s accident occurred in North Side, just after 4 p.m. on Oct. 18. Because there was no ambulance available, he was transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital by private car, arriving there around 5 p.m. After conducting a CT scan, the hospital referred Mr. Miller to Health City Cayman Islands.

“I got the call about 7:15,” said Dr. Chattuparambil, who most people call simply “Dr. Binoy.”

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Dr. Chattuparambil immediately assembled an eight-person operating team to assist him in the event they had to perform surgery after doing their own diagnosis.

Mr. Miller arrived at Health City around 8 p.m.

“He was awake, but drowsy and not responding properly, and his blood pressure was high,” Dr. Chattuparambil said.

When the team started the surgery about two hours later, they found Mr. Miller’s aorta “totally shattered” with blood clots holding it together. During the nine-hour complicated surgery that ensued, they replaced Mr. Miller’s aorta with an artificial tube, saving his life.

The surgery was conducted so efficiently, that Health City did not have to transfuse a single unit of blood to Mr. Miller, Dr. Chattuparambil said, adding that the teamwork in the operating theater was excellent.

The Health City Cayman Islands surgical team that assisted Dr. Chattuparambil with John Miller III's life-saving heart surgery.
The Health City Cayman Islands surgical team that assisted Dr. Chattuparambil with John Miller III’s life-saving heart surgery.

After the successful cardiac surgery, Mr. Miller was attended to by Health City’s physical therapists, who had to contend with his cardiac condition as well as several broken bones as a result of the accident.

Dr. Chattuparambil praised the Health Services Authority for its skill in handling the situation.

“Because diagnosing this type of injury is not easy, it can go wrong,” he said, noting that the Health Services Authority made the “right diagnosis at the right time” and quickly contacted Health City.

“The coordination [by the HSA] was very good and it affected the outcome [of the surgery],” he said.

Having the ability to conduct the surgery very quickly after the accident was vital to the patient’s survival Dr. Chattuparambil added, because the blood clots could have displaced at any time, which would have meant a fast death. Having a hospital on island to do the surgery right away almost certainly saved Mr. Miller’s life, something his father, John Miller Jr., recognized when doing a testimonial video for Health City.

“By all rights, if we had did the old-fashioned way of sending him overseas [by air ambulance] … I would have lost my son,” he said.

Mr. Miller also knows how lucky he was that Health City could perform the surgery.

“I got referred here by the HSA, which was the best decision for me because due to my situation, I had slim chances of making it anywhere else. So I guess [Health City] was my best option, which I’m grateful for.”

Mr. Miller thanked the doctors at Health City for their care in saving his life.

“They gave me a second chance in life,” he said. “I just appreciate everything. They took care of me in ICU; they took care of me in the ward. They’re still taking care of me, even though I’m out, recovering, healthy.”

Assisting Dr. Chattuparambil with the surgery was Dr. Sumit Modi, Health City’s consultant cardiac surgeon. Others on the surgical team included Chief Anesthesiologist Dr. Dhruva Krishnan; perfusion scientists Ravindra Deshpande and Mr. Lessley Christudoss; scrub nurses Joshney Thomas and Shasikala Shetty; and anesthesia technologists Govinda Raju and Sanjay Siddappa.

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  1. This is a great story, and much thanks go out to Health City and HSA for the quick thinking of doctors at the HSA, not to gamble at a table knowing they never had the cards to play.
    We need to see more of these decisions being made to save peoples lives. Protocol is not worth the paper when it comes to a person life.