World | India

Indian hospital to help child with swollen head: doctor

Decision raises hope that 18-month-old Roona Begum, who suffers from hydrocephalus, will get life-saving surgery

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:01 April 15, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Indian labourer, Abdul Rahman, 26, holds his 18 month old daughter, Roona Begum, suffering from Hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling, in front of their home in Jirania village on the outskirts of Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on April 12, 2013.

New Delhi: A top private Indian hospital offered on Monday to examine an 18-month-old girl suffering from a rare but treatable illness that has caused her head to swell to more than double its normal size.

The decision raises hope that eighteen-month-old Roona Begum, who suffers from hydrocephalus, a disorder which causes cerebrospinal fluid to build up on the brain, will get the life-saving surgery she urgently requires.

She was discovered last week living with her impoverished parents who are too poor to pay for treatment for the condition, which has resulted in her head swelling to a circumference of 91-centimetres (36-inches).

The publication of pictures taken by an AFP photographer in remote Tripura state in northeast India last Friday led numerous well-wishers to step forward offering donations, while a website has been set up to collect money for her.

Leading Indian neurosurgeon Sandeep Vaishya, who is the head of neurosurgery at a flagship hospital for the Fortis group near the capital, said that he would examine the girl and see if surgery was possible.

“Fortis will fly her down and while we will have to do an MRI to check the condition of her brain, I am hopeful that we will be able to carry out a surgery and relieve the pressure on the poor child’s brain,” said Vaishya.

The group has a charitable foundation which carries out surgery free of charge.

Her 18-year-old father, Abdul Rahman, who lives in a mud hut with his family in the village of Jirania Khola, said earlier that only a “miracle” could save his daughter’s life.

The swelling is putting pressure on her brain and has made it impossible for her to sit upright or crawl on the ground.

Local doctors had told the family to take the newborn to a private hospital in a big Indian city but the costs were too high for Rahman, an illiterate labourer who earns 150 rupees ($2.75) a day working in a brick plant.

The US government’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates about one in every 500 children suffers from hydrocephalus.

The most common treatment involves the surgical insertion of a mechanism to drain cerebrospinal fluid away from the brain and towards another part of the body where it can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Extreme cases like Roona’s are very rare, according to Vaishya, who said he had been deluged with calls about the child after he spoke to AFP on Saturday.

“The child must be in a lot of pain because her head is so heavy. Still, in the images I could see that she was smiling sometimes, which makes me think that her cognitive functions might still be intact,” Vaishya said.

Surgery to treat hydrocephalus is not particularly risky, Vaishya said.

Comments (9)

  1. Added 13:45 April 16, 2013

    Trust Gulf News to publish such news item, without ever giving a point of contact for willing donors to help out. Not the first time. Even there are articles about new roads, or locations, never with a map. Where is the Editor?

    R.Vasudevan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:25 April 16, 2013

    as if poverty wasn't enough for them. this child is a real hero, may Allah be with her and her family. Gulf News please post the account number to which we can transfer the fund.

    Farah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 12:42 April 16, 2013

    I have been part of assisting a child with a similar condition thanks to Gulf News intervention couple of years back. We were able to financially support Joel while he was admitted in Rashid Hospital. Joel finally found treatment in Kerala, India wherein a chip was implanted in his brain to control the excess fluid build up. He has successfully made through the operation and is now happily living with his family back home in India. However the concerns over such children to be unable to carry the weight of their head still remains and hence they are unable to crawl or turn over. I hope this child will receive the treatment she urgently requires.

    Nisha, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:27 April 16, 2013

    Please, please let me know how we can send her some financial aid.

    heena, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:04 April 16, 2013

    Thanks to AFP, Gulf news and the great Doctor for taking all the initiative to save the life a small girl and hope of an entire family, society, nation and the globe. I am sure God will do the rest. Let us all join our hands and do our level best via prayers and pays. May the Almighty save us!

    Ansari Kakkad, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:58 April 16, 2013

    Crores of money has been corrupted by our ministers in India, why dont they help this poor child from this condition. In kerala also too much people suffering from this Hydrocephalus, because of endosuphan adverse effect.

    anitha, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:20 April 16, 2013

    I would like to help in the treatment for the child. Kindly advise how i can send some financial relief for her. Thank you

    Giana, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 09:36 April 16, 2013

    No one should get into such situation, especially the lower income people. I believe they have all the right to lead a decent life in this universe. Let us all help this man who loves his daughter. At least for the sake of humanity, dear readers please come forward and help. It can happen to anyone. Wishing the doctor good luck and success to save this innocent life.

    Vinayak, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 09:13 April 16, 2013

    such cases should be immediately reported to the govt representatives/social organisations by the hospital and govt should immediately take action towards treatment of the child. why should anyone, the govt or private/public hospital/social organisation, wait for the sufffering patient/family to apply and endure the hopelessly long journey of requests and approvals? why can't the govt take action to nurture a healthy future for its own country?

    sapana, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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