MiD DAY campaign: Search of hospital continues as 8-year-old Mumbai girl's anaemia bleeds family

For the Palsamkars, life has become all about getting through the next day without losing their daughter to a rare blood disorder. After she was discharged from Bombay Hospital last week, eight-year-old Rachita’s father Jairam Palsamkar took her home despite the fact that her body was racked with severe infections.

The parents of Rachita, who is suffering from acute aplastic anaemia, decided to try Ayurvedic treatment to cure their daughter but were advised to bring her back to Mumbai. Rachita’s family is now looking for a hospital that would give her the necessary treatment and save her from death.

MiD DAY has decided to run a campaign to find a hospital for Rachita and raise more funds for her treatment through our readers. After this paper’s earlier reports (‘8-year-old in dire need of marrow transplant,’ February 23) on the ailing girl’s plight, support poured in from readers in the form of cheques to Bombay Hospital. The total donations reached Rs 7 lakh. But the disease outlived the funds and the hospital asked her parents to take her home (‘Donated funds dry up, hospital shows critically-ill 8-year-old the door’, April 17).

Rachita Palsamkar
Eight-year-old Rachita Palsamkar at a city hospital

Rachita, studying in Std III, has been unable to go to school for almost four months now. In January this year, she developed bluish patches on her body and a local doctor prescribed a blood test. When the test reports arrived the doctor realised that the girl was having a very low white blood corpuscles (WBC) count. Palsamkar took her to a local doctor. It turned out that what the family believed to be mere rashes were the symptoms of a life-threatening ailment.

Palsamkar who works as a contract-based labourer lives with his family of four in Nallasopara with his retired father. His income is insufficient to support the family, let alone Rachita’s medical bills. Last Sunday, the Palsamkars took their daughter to Valsad to get her admitted to an Ayurvedic hospital for treating aplastic bone marrow. But after checking her condition, doctors informed the family that they did not have the facilities to treat her. Now the family is back to their Nallasopara home, using all their contacts to find at least one doctor or hospital in the city that would be willing to accommodate her.

Palsamkar said, “When we reached Valsad, Rachita started bleeding profusely and required platelets to be administered. We had a tough time finding the platelets, as we were complete strangers to that city. Finally we managed to locate a donor and obtained the required amount of platelets. Doctors there advised us to return to Mumbai and find a doctor here for treating her.”

When blood sample was collected for the test in January, Rachita continued to bleed from the incision despite all attempts by the local doctor to stem the flow. She was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a nearby private nursing home as an emergency case. Doctors there performed blood transfusion for her. Since she also suffered from bouts of bleeding from her gums and in her motions, she had to be given platelet transfusion as well.

Looking at the condition of their child, the Palsamkars had no hope that she would survive for over 24 hours. However, Rachita responded well to the transfusions. After spending almost 25 days at the private hospital, the family realised that they could not support the medical bills of their daughter. Palsamkar who had spent over Rs 1.5 lakh at the private hospital requested the doctors to refer his daughter to some government-run or trust-run hospital. It was later that Rachita was transferred to BJ Wadia Hospital in Parel.

For two weeks, Rachita continued to suffer bleeding from gums and also developed a high-grade fever, said doctors. A bone marrow sample of the girl was sent for histopathology from the private hospital, but as the sample was insufficient, the test could not be conducted. Doctors advised the parents that another sample had to be collected for a re-test. After her transfer to Wadia Hospital, another marrow sample was collected and sent for testing.

After a few days of stay, she was referred to Bombay Hospital where she underwent treatment starting from February 20 until last weekend. During her stay, following the reports about her case by MiD DAY, several readers from across the city donated a total of around Rs 7 lakh for her treatment. Of the donated sum, over Rs 4.5 lakh was spent on hospitalisation charges while the rest was consumed in getting her platelets and crucial injections. However, despite all their attempts, doctors at Bombay Hospital could not cure her condition.

No matter which antibiotic was prescribed for Rachita, the effect of the drugs lasted for not more than 24 hours and her condition would begin to deteriorate. Finally, even the doctors there have given up hope and requested the family to take her home.

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