Free surgery helps 2-year-old girl get her hand back

A two-year-old girl who had lost her limb movement returned tonormal life after doctors at a burns care centre in Navi Mumbai performed a surgery on her hand on Wednesday.

The girl, Supriya Naik, had burnt her hand in her village in Odisha, when she was only two months old. The incident occurred in January 2011 when the child was sleeping on a mattress. Since there was no electricity, the parents had lit a candle. Unfortunately, the candle fell on the mattress, which caught fire. The baby’s right hand was burnt because of the flames and she suffered 25 per cent burn injuries.

Her father Udhav Naik, who is a labourer at a construction site, said, “We rushed her to a primary health care centre, which told us to take her to a hospital for further treatment. We took her to a hospital in Brahmapur, Odisha, where they quoted a huge sum for the treatment. Since I barely make Rs 5,000 a month, we returned without getting her treated.”

Lending a helping hand: Supriya with her parents before the surgery. Her right hand had become one whole mound of flesh, with the palm and fingers fusing with the forearm

Because the burnt hand was not attended to, the girl’s palm and forearm fused together, to form one mound of flesh. This is called a contracture. Naik came to work at a construction site in Virar three months ago where the baby was identified by a Mumbai Mobile Creches, an NGO that looks after the children of construction workers while they toil away at their work sites. The organisation referred Supriya for Operation Restore — a free surgical camp held under the banner of Rotary District 3140, in association with the Airoli National Burns Centre.

The surgery
The surgery on Wednesday took over three hours and the contracture was removed. The girl has been advised to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 10 days.

Doctors treating Supriya said that the accident had caused complete distortion of her right hand. Dr S M Keshwani, medical director of Airoli’s National Burns Centre said, “Such a surgery would normally cost about Rs 1 lakh. But after knowing the girl’s condition, I felt the need for performing this surgery.

The right hand for most of us is the most dominant part of the body, and because of the injuries, the entire hand had become one mound of flesh. The girl is one of the youngest burn patients we have had at this hospital so far.”

Vishnu Kamat, director of community service, Rotary Club of Deonar said, “Her parents had probably given up hope. But thanks to the day care centre who referred her to the camp, she can expect her condition to improve.”  

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