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'Perfectly planned' suicide finds space in medical journal
Friday May 23, 2014 6:14 PM, IANS

Despite planning a "perfect suicide", a medical professional here was saved by doctors using an unusual medical technique and the report in this regard has found place in the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine (IJCCM).

The report about the alleged suicide attempt by the 32-year-old post-graduate doctor and his subsequent treatment was published in the IJCCM's March 2014 issue.

The medical professional, presumably unable to cope with daily pressure, tried to end his life by taking two cardiac drugs to ensure definite cardiac arrest and a drug for brain damage -- but he was saved by doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

"I had never seen in my practice of 25 years, this unique and deadly concoction as a method of attempted suicide. The challenge for us was to find an antidote for digoxin drug which was digoxin specific antibody fragments," said Sumit Ray, vice chairperson, department of critical care, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, in a statement.

Digoxin is used to control irregular heartbeats in patients, but if taken in large doses, it can cause a complete standstill leading to cardiac arrest.

A collective consultation of a team of cardiologists, nephrologists and critical care specialists attempted a charcoal-based hemoperfusion used for removing drug related toxins but rarely attempted for digoxin.

The new treatment surprisingly reduced the level of toxins in his body and saved the life of the medical professional.

"We were pleasantly surprised by the results as after 15 hours of hemoperfusion with two cartridges of this activated charcoal based adsorbent, the serum digoxin levels started reducing significantly," said Ray.

According to the new procedure, patient's blood is continuously perfused trough a small cartridge containing charcoal granules.

"The charcoal granules are encapsulated with a biocompatible cellulose membrane which protects cellular blood components from having direct contact with the charcoal. However, toxic substances can easily pass the membrane and get absorbed from the plasma," said Ray.

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