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Crippled teen waits 5 months for operation

The 18-year-old who came to KEM hospital for a surgery that would help him walk again has been shunted from one department to another, as hesitant doctors and malfunctioning machines defer the procedure indefinitely

While most of us ring in the New Year with hopes and plans for new beginnings, young Abhilash Dubey still waits for his tryst with the future, his fresh new start. The 18-year-old, who lost the use of his right leg in a freak accident, has been languishing in KEM hospital since August last year, on the faint hope that he will be operated upon. But call it apathy or just sheer bad luck, all the forces seem to have conspired to prevent him from receiving the crucial surgery that will allow him to walk again. 




Till kingdom come? Though Abhilash came to the KEM hospital for 
treatment in the month of May last year, he still hasn't been operated 
upon. The 18-year-old has given up hope and wants to return to his 
home in Allahabad now

Having been shunted back and forth between the orthopaedics and plastic departments of the hospital, the boy is now planning to return home, untreated. Back home in Allahabad last year, Abhilash was a first year engineering student with a promising future ahead of him. A freak accident in January last year, however, snatched away the use of his right leg, compelling him to drop out of his college and seek medical attention. Doctors who gave him preliminary treatment recommended that he see specialists in KEM hospital. Based on their assurances, Abhilash and his father Kishore left Allahabad for the shores of Mumbai, reaching the city in May.

Recalling the fateful accident that crippled him, Abhilash said, "I was standing near the railway tracks, when suddenly a mail train passed me. I was somehow pulled into the tracks. I sustained grievous injuries on my right leg. I developed an infection at the hospital where I was initially admitted," he said. 

Having reached Mumbai, Abhilash went for consultation with doctors at the orthopaedics department in KEM. "I was referred to the plastic department for bone grafting, which in turn asked me to get fixators attached to my leg, prior to the grafting. I was assigned a date for the surgery, for which I was admitted on August 15. The fixators were attached on August 16, and I was discharged on August 19," he recalled.

Ward to ward 
Having received the fixators necessary for the bone grafting, Abhilash was admitted to the hospital's plastic department on September 22. "While I was admitted, the doctors in the department kept summoning me to the OPD, to decide details about my surgery. Each day I thought that my surgery would be scheduled, but I kept waiting. In the beginning, the senior doctors in the department were on leave, as a result of which they kept deferring the date of my surgery. When they finally rejoined work, I was relieved and hopeful. But again, they said that I needed a surgery from the orthopaedics department, and shifted me there," said Abhilash.

Abhilash doggedly battled despondency, looking forward to his surgery. To his utter despair, he learnt on November 19 - when he was shifted to the orthopaedics department - that the C-arm, a machine necessary for the surgery, had stopped functioning. The snag pushed his surgery date even further. 

"The doctors promised us that the machine would be repaired in a week or so, after which they would operate on me. I have been waiting ever since. It is now 2012, and I still haven't gone under the knife," said Abhilash. 
Giving up hope, the boy is now making plans to return to Allahabad, untreated. 

His father Kishore added, "My son underwent nine operations in Allahabad. He was admitted to KEM three times, but the promised surgery never took place. I spent all my savings to pay for his stay in the guesthouse. We bought all the medicines that the doctors prescribed for the surgery, but my son has still been denied the treatment he was promised." 

The Other side 
Dr Shaligram Purohit, associate professor at KEM hospital, said, "His surgery is risky as he has only one artery in his leg. Doctors in the plastic department were planning to graft the artery in his arm to his leg, but it was a challenging procedure, so we decided that the orthopaedic procedure would be performed first. We have reported to the authorities that the machine is not working. We will try our best to get it fixed at the earliest and get him the surgery he needs." Dr Pradeep Bhosale, head of the orthopaedics department at KEM hospital, said, "I am aware of the case. It is a risky procedure and so we have to plan it well. The machine is also not working and we will need the C-arm to perform the surgery."

An eternal wait
Jan 11, 2011: Train accident
May 30: Move to KEM hospital and referral to plastic dept
Aug 16: Fixators attached to his injured leg
Aug 19: Discharged, followed by visits to the plastic department's OPD
Sept 8: Admitted to the plastic dept of the hospital
Nov 19: Transferred to the orthopedic department from plastic department
Jan 1, 2012: Still languishing in the ward 

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