For Sajna Sabah, a 22-year old trainee at the National Coir Training and Design Centre, Alappuzha, Kerala, life became a voiceless void, in January this year, when her shawl caught the spinning wheel, almost strangulating her.
She was rushed to the Government Medical College, Alappuzha, and a tracheotomy was performed on her. She recovered consciousness, but her vocal chords had sustained massive damage in the mishap.
On the 8th day, she was shifted to the Lourdes Hospital in Kochi for specialised treatment. Her vocal chords had become dysfunctional. An endoscopy revealed a bilaterally adducted vocal cord and blind ending at the post laryngeal level.
Retrograde endoscopy through tracheostomy also hit a blind end. This meant that she had suffered a complete transection at the upper tracheal level. A CT scan was taken, which showed a completely disconnected and malaligned trachea.The Lourdes team, headed by Dr. Santhosh John Abraham, and comprising Dr. Chacko Cyriac, Dr. Vimal Ipe, Dr. Shobha Philip and Dr. Gayatri, had a major challenge on their hands--that of creating enough survivable space between vocal cords to sustain a tracheal reconstruction.
When they began operating on her, they found that lower larynx, cricoid and upper trachea were all injured and ischaemic and there was fibrosis. The team did total resection of the fibrosed portions and reconstructed them.
Sajna was kept with ventilator support for 4 days and extubated. She still had minimal air leak for which a few sutures were removed.
Dr. Santhosh John Abraham says that he was not confident about her recovering her voice in full. "By God's grace, when she came for review yesterday, she had fully regained the pitch and tone of her voice," says Dr. Abraham, happy that he and his team could return the young girl her faculty of speech.