Policeman whose legs were crushed by truck ready to resume duty

Mumbai: After an accident that left the bones of both his legs crushed, police constable Sachin Dhanivire (44) had given up hopes of ever walking again. Seven months later, he is ready to resume his job with the state highway police.

The ghastly mishap took place on the night of April 22 when Dhanivire was on duty at National Highway 48. It was while he and his colleagues were attempting to get a stationary truck out of the way of incoming traffic that a speeding truck hit it from behind. Dhanivire happened to be in front of the stationary truck, and his legs got under the front wheels.

The policeman’s colleagues rushed him to a hospital, from where he was almost immediately shifted to Wockhardt Hospital at Mira Road. At that time, Dhanivire had multiple fractures on his lower legs and thighs. Some parts of his legs were completely degloved, with the bones exposed, blood vessels injured and a very important nerve shattered.

The medical team led by orthopaedic surgeon Dr Girish Bhalerao resolved to save both the life and limbs of the patient. “When he was brought to the hospital, he was first stabilised in accordance with ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) protocol,” said Dr Bhalerao. “Since a part of his lower leg bones were exposed to the elements, we initially feared he might lose his legs to infection or gangrene. But since he was brought to a well-equipped hospital within the golden period, this played an important role in saving his limbs from amputation.”

Once Dhanivire’s condition was stable, the doctors focused on stabilising the blood vessels and healing the fractures, one at a time. It was a long process since two or three days of rest were needed after every procedure. “The parts of the bones that were lost were rebuilt through bone-grafting,” said Dr Bhalerao. “Ruptured ligaments and tendons were also repaired and plastic surgeon Dr Sushil Nehte did the final skin-grafting.” Rigorous physiotherapy ensured that Dhanivire regained mobility in his knee joints which had been severely damaged in the accident.

Even as the doctors were putting in every effort to save his legs, Dhanivire was plagued by negative thoughts. “The thought of being dependent on my wife forever and not being able to do anything by myself worried me,” he said. But by the time he was ready to go home on May 28, the police officer had regained many of his bodily functions and could even walk with some help. Last month, he began walking on his own without any support, and now is even able to ride a two-wheeler.

“I was just thankful to be alive a couple of months ago. However, being a policeman, I am a fighter so I was determined to do whatever it took to resume my duties,” said Dhanivire. He is very grateful to the doctors who helped him in his resolve.

As he will need physiotherapy for a few more months, Dhanivire’s seniors from the state police have chalked out light duties for him when he resumes work next month. Depending on how he responds to the continuing medical treatment, he could even go back to his job as a highway patrol man in the coming months.