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Old July 24th 03, 11:31 PM
Gunny Bunny
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Default Ouch ( O/T )

Tuesday July 22 2003 00:00 IST

Holding severed head in place, he defied death


AGRA: A 28-year-old carrier van driver's head nearly got chopped off in a
road accident. Weeks later he is alive, thanks to sheer grit.

His head almost severed, blood oozing and eyes popping out, Balram was in a
dazed state when the accident took place on July 5 in Fatehabad in Uttar

He, however, kept his head attached to his body with some cloth. When no one
came to help him, he drove his own vehicle for 30 km to reach a nursing home
in Agra.

Doctors there found the head partly joined with the spinal column --
something that saved his life.

D.V. Sharma, who runs the nursing home, said it was Balram's supreme
confidence and presence of mind that must have made him drive without any
loss of time.

"Had there been some delay, death was a certainty."

"Imagine someone walking into the nursing home with his head almost cut off
from the neck. The very thought gives shivers," said an attendant who first
saw Balram at the nursing home.

On Sunday evening, a felicitation function was organised by Agra's clubs and
some NGOs for Balram.

People who donated blood for him were also praised at the function in the
hospital, which incidentally refused to take money for his treatment.

Recalling the accident, a family member said: "Balram was returning from
Arnauta in Bah tehsil (sub-district) with 10 quintals of wheat in his van.
When he was passing through the main market in Fatehabad, a tractor trolley
carrying iron rods and pipes ahead of him suddenly applied the breaks.

"Balram could not stop in time and banged into the trolley. The iron rods
pierced through his neck. His head fell on one side, attached precariously
to the spinal cord.

"He was fully conscious and all his organs were in command. Promptly, Balram
straightened his head and tied a 'safi' (a thin cloth towel) around it and
rushed towards Agra. Whoever saw the scene couldn't believe his eyes. The
crowd that assembled around did nothing.

"When Balram tried to speak, blood oozed from his mouth.

"Soaked in blood and in a totally shattered state, even his co-worker
collapsed unconscious. But Balram did not lose heart. He kick-started the
van and went to a nearby doctor who advised him to immediately rush to Agra.
The first nursing home on the way refused him admission as he was in a
critical state.

"Then around 7.30 p.m., he reached D.V. Sharma's bone clinic. He fell
unconscious. Sharma immediately got his team together as both his pulse and
breathing rhythms had come under strain."

It took nearly three-and-a-half hours for doctors to complete the operation.
Papers on the van helped them trace his family members.

A life was saved. On Sunday, Balram was fit and ready to return. He is still
having trouble speaking, but doctors said a minor operation later would
restore his voice.

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