Eleven years ago, Aaromal Gopal sustained a serious bike injury that left him in a coma for 16 days.

A young man in lawyer's coat stands between an older man dressed in white and a woman in an orange saree. Aaromal Gopal with his parents G Surendran and Dr Pushpalatha
Features Human Interest Friday, April 30, 2021 - 18:40
Written by  Abhish K Bose

On February 25, 2010, Aaromal Gopal SP was seriously injured in an accident when a biker overtook his bike on the Anchal-Ayur route in Kerala. The 28-year-old native of Anchal in the Kollam district lay in a coma for 16 days after. At least 15 surgeries were performed on him over 11 years. His left arm suffered a lot of damage and it was regenerated by treatment at CMC Vellore in Tamil Nadu. 

Yet, none of this stopped Aaromal from continuing his studies at Kerala Law Academy, Thiruvananthapuram, a year after the accident. He was a first year student of law when the accident happened. Amid the series of surgeries over the last 11 years, Aaromal graduated as a lawyer recently. But, he wasn’t the only one from his family to decide to study law.

Aaromal’s mother Dr Pushaplatha, who retired last year from the Animal Husbandry Department as a Deputy Director, took leave for five years to look after Aaromal and be there for him through his treatments and recovery. Not only that, she took admission in the evening batch of LLB at the same college to support Aaromal as he pursued his legal studies. The mother and son learned the law together and even studied the same lessons.

Dr Pushaplatha completed her LLB two years ago, although she is yet to take the examination for four more semesters. “I also wanted to practice law. So I joined the evening batch of the LLB at Law Academy Law College, Thiruvananthapuram and completed the course in 2019. I have written the first two semester examinations and have to write four more semester examinations for qualifying as an advocate,” she said.

Aaromal’s road to recovery

“I sincerely believe that the covenant of God’s protection is with me. None among those who gathered in the hospital after the accident thought that I would make this much progress,” Aaromal told TNM.

After a month and a half at a major hospital in Thiruvananthapuram post the accident, Aaromal was shifted to CMC Vellore for advanced treatment. Aaromal’s sister Dr Caroline SP said that it was the treatment by Dr Mony P Vinod, the neurosurgeon at CMC Vellore that stabilised him.

“At least 15 surgeries were conducted on him over the past 11 years. His left arm suffered a lot of damage and it was regenerated by the treatment at CMC Vellore,” said Dr Caroline. The left hand was fixed by a team led by Dr Binu P Thomas. It took six months and after that, he had to visit the hospital periodically for follow-up and further procedures.

Aaromal’s father G Surendran is an advocate and educationist based in Anchal. “The seriousness of the accident was mitigated since he appropriately wore a helmet. The accident should serve as a lesson for those driving two-wheelers that they should wear helmets come what may,” he said. This was something echoed by his doctors, who said that since Aaromal was wearing a helmet he was saved from a major head injury.  

Dr Caroline said that even after the many treatments, his balance on his left side and moving his fingers was also difficult.  

A recipient of several awards for various art forms (dance and music), Aaromal was the Anchal sub-district Kalaprathibha in 2003 and received a lot of support from family and friends during his surgeries and recovery. “The help we received from our well-wishers helped us immensely to overcome the situation. Regatta Girija Chandran, a dance teacher helped him regain balance on his left side through dance. Efforts from similar well-wishers helped him progress,” said Dr Caroline.  

On April 25, during his convocation ceremony, Aaromal’s name was specially mentioned by the Bar Council of Kerala office-bearer Advocate P Santhosh, for clearing the examinations after everything he’d been through, 

As a lawyer, Aaromal is interested in civil and criminal law.

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