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|June 14, 2001||
'She came here on a stretcher, she will walk home'
Vivek Fernandes in Bombay
Sarika Kamal Haasan, wife of awardwinning actor and director Kamal Haasan, and Hindi film artiste,will undergo spinal surgery at the Lilavati Hospital, Bombay, in the early hours of Friday.
Dr P S Ramani, neurological and spinal surgeon, who has been attending to her and Dr Virendra Bhimani, Executive Vice President, Lilavati Hospital, on Thursday briefed the media on her condition.
"Sarikaji has suffered a fracture to the spine due to a fall she took in Madras. Since I am known to the family, they contacted me immediately. I've been monitoring the situation from the very beginning. She was admitted to Devyani Nursing Home, close to their home in Madras," said Dr Ramani.
"I flew down to Madras, examined her and gave instructions so that they could transport her to Bombay without aggravating her condition. She was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday. And the first phase of the operation, lasting six-and-a-half hours, was completed on Wednesday, approximately 30 hours after the accident. The operation was to repair and stabilise the back of the spine."
"The second phase of the operation will take place Friday at 0730 hrs, and will probably last for at least five to six hours," he added.
Replying to queries on the patient's current condition, Dr Ramani said, "I am extremely satisfied with yesterday's operation. She is now eating, talking and smiling. The pain has subsided and she is more comfortable.
"After tomorrow's surgery, we will give her two days to recuperate after which Dr Bhimani and my team will evaluate the patient and recommend a rehabilitation programme. The chances of a full recovery are 70% in most of these cases.
"Although she came in on a stretcher, she will walk home, hopefully in two weeks... that's what we are aiming at."
However, he was reluctant to comment on the cause of her fall: "As doctors, we are only interested in relieving the patient's ailment, we are not interested in the circumstances that caused it."
On being asked as to why Sarika was flown down to Bombay, Dr. Bhimani replied, "Lilavati Hospital is well equipped to handle such situations.
"Also, Dr Ramani, who is attached to this hospital, is renowned in this field. He recently conducted an international conference which was attended by 54 foreign delagates. But surgeons can't work alone. A good hospital with all the facilities is important, too."
Though an unshaven Kamal Haasan put in an appearance, the photographers present scared him off before he could say a word. The couple's children are also in the city. At the time of the conference, they were believed to be shopping with a family friend at Linking Road.
A star on the Hindi film horizon in the 1980s, Sarika has, in recent times, been associated with the School of Fashion Technology, Pune, where she has outlined a course for film costume and design in cinema.
She then took to costume designing and has created both modern and period costumes for RaajKamal Films International -- Kamal Haasan's production house -- including Chachi 420 and Hey! Ram.
She has won rare reviews for her authentic research-backed work.
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