Siechen hero fights for life, nation prays
NEW DELHI: The condition of a soldier who survived for six days under 35 feet of snow in the Siachen glacier deteriorated on Wednesday but his miraculous rescue could push the frontiers of high-altitude medicine, India’s top military doctor told HT.
Doctors at Delhi’s Army Hospital Research & Referral ( R& R) said the next 24 hours were critical for Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who continued to be comatose and in shock.
“His [ Koppad’s] brain has excessive swelling and his kidneys are severely affected; however age is by his side and if he survives this critical period, he should be
able to lead a normal life,” said All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Dr MC Misra, after a panel of experts from the institute visited the hospital.
The military is set to kick off research to examine how
Koppad stayed alive under 35 feet of snow — nearly as high as a three- storey building — but his comrades perished, said Lieutenant General BK Chopra, who heads the armed forces medical services.
Experts believe a small air pocket, physical toughness and a strong will to live may have helped him cling to life at a height of 20,500 feet on the planet’s most unforgiving battlefield.
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