After a gritty battle with a life-threatening blood disorder, eight-year-old Rachita Palsamkar succumbed to her illness, breathing her last in the wee hours on Monday in her father’s arms. Over the past few months, MiD DAY readers, moved by her suffering and her family’s plight, had made generous contributions for the little girl’s treatment, which amounted to Rs 7 lakh (‘Rs 2 lakh in, 4 lakh more needed to save Rachita,’ March 3). However, Rachita could not be saved.
After her discharge from Bombay Hospital last week, Jairam Palsamkar, Rachita’s father, took his daughter home. Severe infection had spread through Rachita’s body, which strong doses of antibiotics prescribed by doctors could not quell. On Sunday night, she started asking for a doctor. Jairam told her that he would take her to a doctor the next morning, assuring her that she would soon be better.
Jairam said, “She was my youngest daughter and hence the closest to all of us. She complained of stomach ache and breathlessness around 2 am on Monday. She said that she was experiencing some kind of fear. I got her a glass of water and immediately after sipping some, she collapsed in my arms.”
He added, “I was breaking down, but took control of my emotions and rushed her to a local hospital. The doctor there informed me that she was no more, and that I should take her back home.” In January this year, Rachita developed bluish patches on her body and a local doctor prescribed a blood test. The test reports revealed that she had a very low white blood corpuscle (WBC) count. Jairam 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 an aplastic bone marrow.
Jairam, who works as a contract-based labourer lives with his family of four in Nallasopara with his retired father. His income was insufficient to support the family, let alone Rachita’s medical bills. With the help of donated funds, Jairam was able to get Rachita admitted to Bombay hospital and provide her with necessary medication. But after trying their best, doctors at the hospital gave up and requested the family to take Rachita home, as none of the drugs were working.
On April 14, the Palsamkars took their daughter to Valsad, hoping to get her admitted to an ayurvedic hospital. Doctors there assessed her condition and informed the family that they did not have facilities required to treat her. The Palsamkars had no option but to take Rachita back home and administer antibiotics to control the infection.
Jairam said, “My family is shattered by our daughter’s demise. Though we knew that her condition was critical, we never anticipated that she would leave us all so soon. We had given her platelets two days ago and had also made arrangements for the next dosage in a couple of days. I was also planning to get her admitted to a private hospital after two days.”