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Towering Sunil Walks Again… Overpowered by Love
The story of how the terrible trauma of Sunil Verma,
who met with a near fatal accident, was transformed into a triumph of Love…

Delirious and at Death’s Door

With high fever, Sunil Verma lay almost delirious as the doctors struggled to bring down his temperature. They needed to clean the wound on his leg three times a day. Despite administering high potency antibiotics, his fever and infection refused to subside.

“We had done all that we could. When I walked out of the operation theatre, I saw Sunil’s parents in tears. A patient in his condition is facing a risk to his life. Though it was late evening, I told them to rush to Prashanti Nilayam and post a letter to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba narrating their son’s condition,” said Dr. Kailash Rao, the Head of Orthopaedics, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram.

Taking the doctor’s advice, the parents rushed to the ashram. Sunil’s parents had not slept a wink for four days, and his mother, Eshwari’s eyes drooped on their own accord as she took an auto rickshaw along with her husband, Mr. M.P. Raju for the 5 kilometre ride to Prashanti Nilayam.  In a daze, she beheld the quickly changing scenes of the harrowing ordeal of the days gone by.

How on that fateful day her son had just returned from college and his friends visited him…They took him for a joy ride on a motorbike… She had been preparing snacks for him but he said he will have something outside… He had been away for a long time… She had waited… He did not return… Then somebody, must have been a passer by, dropped in and told her that her son had met with an accident!

The memory of that terrible moment shook her out of her painful reverie…as she looked outside, she realised they had reached Prasanthi Nilayam. She walked straight to a courier agency, and the way she and her husband went about writing a long note, the receptionist there knew it was a ‘SOS’ call to Bhagavan. They poured their heart out to Bhagavan… they were going through the worst nightmare of their lives. How terrible the twist of fate had been for them in the last few weeks.

A Joyride Too Far

In fact, on March 31, 2007 Sunil was his jubilant self. He had returned home after the end of the first theory examination, very satisfied and happy. Of course, there were more exams to follow, but on that day it was time to enjoy.

Mr. Sunil Verma

It was almost dusk when two of his friends had picked him up from his home for a joy ride. Negotiating the dirt tracks of their village of Kottapeta (near Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh) had always filled them with a sense of excitement and achievement.

Tall and lanky, with a thick plastic-frame spectacles, Sunil always stood out among his friends, precisely for his figure more than anything else, as he was noticeably mild-mannered and unassuming.

Recalling the moment that turned his life upside down in a split second, Sunil said: “As we sped along, there was a tractor wagon lumbering ahead. It was a narrow path and foolishly, we tried to squeeze the bike through and overtake the tractor.

As the bike cut across the track in a hurry and tried to manoeuvre through the illusive few inches of space, I brought my leg close to the bike’s frame. I tried my best to prevent a collision, but in vain. My left leg struck the back of the wagon, and it was a high speed accident… I just flew off the bike and landed in the dirt. My other two friends too were thrown off the bike.”

As he lay on the dirt track bleeding profusely from the left leg, Sunil saw a few pieces of what looked like bone strewn on the track. Loose dust on the ground had turned into dark red mud after blood from his body had seeped into it. Sunil felt no pain. So, he got up on his feet momentarily, thinking he would just walk away, but collapsed. He could not get up again…

Sunil’s knee and femur had pulverised at the impact with the tractor wagon; tiny pieces of his bone lay sprayed on that village track.

His parents rushed him to the nearest hospital, but it being Saturday evening, only emergency services were available.

Frantic Attempts to Save His Ebbing Life

Sunil's knee and femur were pulverized
by contact with the tractor

Extensive loss of blood made Sunil’s blood pressure plummet, and he then fainted – imagine the parents’ desperate condition. Frantic phone calls to relatives and friends brought them three units of blood. Then they called up their neighbour, who was a volunteer of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. With his help another donor was arranged, who donated a unit.

Sunil’s situation stabilised to some extent, but any hope of saving his leg began to fade. When the hospital finally opened on Monday morning, 36 hours after the incident, infection had already set in. The doctors grimly told Sunil’s family that an operation would cost around Rs. 2 lakh (US $ 4000) and they would have to spend another Rs. 1 lakh (US $ 2000) on medicines.

Sunil’s father, Mr. M.P. Raju, was a teacher in a local school and earned Rs. 4,000 a month. The only other source of family income was their land of two-acres. Income from this piece of land went towards Sunil’s and his elder brother’s education.

Relatives of the family came forward with whatever they could organise. Eventually, Rs. 1.5 lakh was raised so that the surgery could begin. But shockingly, the doctors refused even to touch Sunil, unless the whole Rs. 3 lakh were arranged.

It was undoubtedly the lowest point of their lives. “We lost all hope. We could do nothing. We did not know what was to become of him,” Sunil’s mother Eashwari said, her face harried as she remembered this traumatic period.

Divine Help - Out of the Blue

Suddenly and out of the blue, a sympathetic doctor from the same hospital told them about the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, where the surgery and treatment were given totally free of cost. The doctor also told them that nothing would be charged from them, even for the hospital stay or food. Unable to believe that such a place could really exist in a society dominated by monetary values, Sunil’s family initially had their doubts. But then that was the only hope they had.  

Four full days after the accident, with hope diminishing like a twilight sunset, the family engaged an ambulance from Rajamundry to Puttaparthi paying Rs. 14,000, and finally reached SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, on April 3, 2007.

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram

On entering its premises, they somehow felt reassured. The sight of the huge embracing arms of the massive building ignited in them a little confidence…were their renewed hopes going to be dashed as they entered inside, or was everything they had heard about this unique hospital really true?

An external fixation device was placed on the fractured femur to immobilize
and promote healing

As they were ushered in they noticed the peaceful atmosphere and spotless environment. The concerned doctor on night duty was aghast looking at Sunil’s wound. Blood had seeped through the dressing and it had started emitting a foul smell.

Sunil was immediately admitted, investigated and emergency debridement (surgical removal of foreign matter and dead tissue from a wound) was performed. The doctors feared that with the wound getting infected, any delay in treatment would necessitate amputation of the limb.

An X-ray of the leg confirmed that several pieces of bone were missing from his left leg, and the knee was shattered. Sunil had actually suffered from an open fracture of the lower end of the femur on the left leg. The doctors fixed his leg with an external fixator (a device consisting of multiple pins and external rings or bars which hold a fractured bone in place).

According to Dr. Rao, the first six-hour period following such an injury is called the golden period. If the patient comes to an orthopaedician within this time, then the success rate is almost 100 per cent. But beyond 6 hours, there are high chances of infection setting in. And Sunil had come to SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram after four days…

“Sunil had developed a high fever due to infection. The microbiology department report said that the bacteria were resistant to common antibiotics. Finally, a high potency dose of antibiotics was given to Sunil. But the fever continued,” the surgeon explained, and also added that Sunil’s condition was, indeed, dangerous. His bone was badly broken and blood vessels had been torn off. The worst part was he had delayed coming to the hospital by more than four days. “Patients in such cases do not always recover”, the surgeons opined.

“With the infection refusing to subside, we thought it would be impossible to save Sunil’s leg. There was also a threat to his life. The only refuge we had was Sai Baba. We surrendered completely to Him,” the surgeons humbly submitted.

Then at the Very Lowest Point…

And that’s why they asked Eshwari and Raju to pray hard and also write a letter to Baba. And after they had handed over their envelope to the courier agency, they hurriedly returned to the Hospital. Immediately they sought out the surgeons, and surprisingly, they were greeted by twinkling smiles.

“The fever has started reducing on its own,” the doctors jubilantly told them.

For the first time, in the last many weeks, Eshwari and Raju’s hearts lit up. “That news was a relief, such a big relief,” she said later. “I just slumped into a chair and shed tears of joy.  We had emptied our heart entirely in that letter and prayed for His mercy, and it just worked!”

And then, followed a dramatic reduction in Sunil’s infection. The doctors now administered oral antibiotics for 10 days and Sunil was put on an external fixator. Later, a bone graft was done followed by illizaro fixation. And finally, Sunil was given a brace and a walking shoe-raise.

“I never believed I will walk again…” - Sunil

The stunned doctors who treated Sunil, till this day, feel his case was nothing short of a miracle: “We did all that we could. We gave him the most potent antibiotics and cleaned the wound three times a day, but finally when we could do nothing more, we just surrendered to Bhagavan. From that moment, Sunil’s situation just began improving on its own.  It felt like a gentle reminder by Bhagavan, that it was He who cures, not us. Sunil was able to have food after several days. He then recovered remarkably.”

Sunil with his mother, Ms. Eshwari

The surgeons now say Sunil will be able to walk again, but for sometime, he will not be able to bend his left knee. “We can do a joint replacement later, which will help Sunil lead a perfectly normal life,” Dr. Rao added.  

Sunil currently walks with a crutch but in time he will give this up. He says that after the harrowing experience of being refused treatment in Rajamundry, the care extended by the doctors of SSSIHMS just feels like a dream. “All I can say is I never believed that I will be able to walk on my two legs again. But here I am on my two legs!” Joy was dancing on his face as he happily looked down at his feet.

“Sai Baba works through the doctors here…” – Eshwari, Sunil’s mother

Sunil’s mother, Eshwari, chokes with feeling, when she speaks about how her son has received a new life. “I never expected my son will be back on his feet. We did not have to spend a single paisa on his treatment in this Hospital. We had completely given up hope. But Sai Baba works through the doctors here, who are living embodiments of His love. My son has got a new life,” she added, her face wet with emotion.

The Bible says that the Lord made the blind see and lame walk, and there are a few such instances in that Holy Scripture. But today, this is happening right in front of our eyes every single day, and the Lord is doing this, not only directly, but also through ordinary people like us.

Bhagavan Baba is demonstrating to us what we can really do if we surrender to Him and believe in the power of Pure Love. Miracles manifest every moment in our lives if we surrender to Him sincerely and make Love the only inspiration and destination of our lives. And as a testimony to this, stands gloriously the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

~ Heart2Heart Team
in association with SSSIHMS


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Vol 7 Issue 05 - MAY 2009
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