New Delhi: Central Reserve Police Force commander Chetan Cheetah, who was shot nine times during an encounter with militants in Kashmir, has made a “miraculous” recovery and will be discharged from the AIIMS on Wednesday.
Cheetah was first wheeled in on February 14 at the trauma centre of the premier medical institute after being airlifted from Srinagar. Doctors attending to him said he has shown a steely resolve to respond to their intensive medical care that went on for close to about two months.
Professor of Trauma Surgery at the AIIMS Subodh Kumar, while announcing his recovery in an interaction with journalists, said it was “nothing short of a miracle”.
“Cheetah was in coma for 16 days and spent a month in the ICU. He is fit to be discharged now,” Amit Gupta, Additional Medical Superintendent at the AIIMS Trauma Centre, said.
Gupta said the Commanding Officer (CO) of the CRPF’s 45th battalion in Kashmir Valley had suffered bullet injuries in his brain, right eye, abdomen, both the arms, left hand and in the buttock region.
According to doctors, the hope for vision returning to Cheetah’s right eye are “bleak” although his left eye which was also injured due to splinter injuries has been restored.
“When he was brought in, he was in coma, had bullet injuries in his head, badly fractured torso and the globe of his eight eye had ruptured,” Gupta said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to hail the courage of the officer and said he wants to see Cheetah back in action.
“Fortune favours the brave. Extremely happy to know that Cheetah has made a miraculous recovery.
“I thank the team of doctors who have helped Shri Chetan Cheetah in his recovery. Hope to see Cheetah back in action soon,” the minister said.
His deputy in the ministry and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju visited the officer at the AIIMS Trauma centre here and talked to him.
Rijiju said he was “proud” of the officer.
Cheetah, in his short comments, said he felt proud when army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and Rijiju visited him during his admission at the hospital here and recognised his contribution.
The team of medical experts and doctors described the treatment provided to him over the last over 1.5 months.
“Within 24 hours of admission, surgery was conducted to remove a portion of the skull which had suffered the bullet injury to reduce intra-cranial pressure. After that he underwent multiple surgeries.
“Cheetah also developed signs of sepsis due to his wounds which was managed by critical care specialists in ICU. His wounds were regularly debrided,” Subodh said.
According to doctors, Cheetah will be left with some amount of disability but with proper rehabilitation and physiotherapy will improve over the time.
The CO’s wife, Uma Singh, who has been besides her husband since the near-fatal encounter, was anxious to take him home after being discharged on Wednesday and said “normality in our lives will come back once he wears the uniform and goes to office”.
Hailing from the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, Cheetah bore the initial brunt of the militant encounter in Hajjan area on February 14 where a joint team of army, CRPF and state police had laid siege following intelligence inputs that two foreign militants were hiding in the area.
Cheetah was commanding the 45th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
He was initially taken to the base hospital in Srinagar where he was operated upon and given primary treatment after which he was shifted using an air ambulance to the AIIMS trauma centre at 7.30 PM the same day.
Doctors said he was shifted to ward on March 16 where he underwent rehabilitation in the form of physiotherapy and speech therapy with a total ICU stay of 30 days.
Subsequently, they said, the wounds were covered with skin grafting by the plastic surgery team.
“His comeback to normal life has shown the true grit of a warrior,” Anurag Srivastava, Chief of AIIMS Trauma Centre, said.