Mumbai teen recovers from coma caused by deadly clot in brain thanks to alert doctors

Dec 01, 2017, 12:18 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Timely intervention by doctors at children's hospital helps save life of comatose 13-year-old, who had suffered an aneurysm

On November 18, Abdul Samad, 13, had a headache he wouldn't forget for the rest of his life. Turns out, the shooting pain he suffered - and now survived - in his head was an aneurysm, which caused major bleeding in his brain due to vascular malformation and left him comatose. Timely intervention by cardiovascular experts at a children's hospital helped save his life. But before that happened, he was turned away by three hospitals - one private and two government - who said they didn't have spare ventilators.

Abdul with his parents Imran and Rubina at the NH SRCC hospital, where he is recovering
Abdul with his parents Imran and Rubina at the NH SRCC hospital, where he is recovering

Within minutes
Abdul, a Std VIII student residing in Tulsiwadi, Tardeo, complained of severe headache and began vomiting around 9 pm. Within minutes, he had seizures. According to his father Imran Shaikh, who works as an assistant painter, and earns a daily wage of Rs 350 said, "I took Abdul in my arms and rushed him to a private hospital, where he'd previously been admitted on October 16, after he developed a similar problem, but the doctors there said he requires ventilator support as he was slipping into a coma, and that they do not have a spare ventilator." "I then rushed him to the JJ hospital, where the doctors said the same thing and advised us to take him to the Nair or Wadia hospital. At Nair too, we were told that no ventilator was available. We finally got him to SRCC at 2.45 am," recalled Imran.

"At JJ, I told the doctor that at a time when my child was in such a bad condition that he had to be on ventilator support, how could they expect me to take him to another hospital? But all my pleas went unheard. I was prepared for the worst," he added.

Life threatening condition
But this would soon change at SRCC. A CT scan and MRI confirmed Abdul was bleeding and cerebrospinal fluid was getting accumulated in his brain. His condition was turning into a life threatening one. Then, a team of experts, headed by neurosurgeon Dr Naresh Biyani, interventional neuroradiologist Dr Nishant Aditya, and director, paediatric critical care, Dr Soonu Udani conducted the necessary line of treatment, including a supra major surgical procedure, said Imran. Post surgery, Abdul continued to be on ventilator support and remained unconscious. But subsequently, he opened his eyes and slowly started responding and recognizing his family.

"We are thankful to the doctor and the entire team of experts for having understood our financial inability and still continuing with the line of treatment to save our child," said Rubina, Abdul's mother, controlling her tears. On November 29, Abdul was finally shifted out of the PICU and brought to the general ward, where his parameters will be monitored before he is allowed to go home.

Bills to be cleared
The life-saving surgery did come with a hefty bill. Imran said, "I am yet to clear the bill. On the day of admission, the hospital was kind enough to treat my child without demanding a deposit. I could only pay Rs 20,000, which was collected by my neighbours. I am told the bill is currently around Rs 8.70 lakh." "The hospital shared some contacts of various chartable institutions in Mumbai and I have been given a letter to approach them for financial aid. I have already got a response from one such trust in Dadar, that has assured to provide Rs 70,000 in aid. The hospital has not asked for money or pressurized me to cough up the entire sum.

What makes it rare
"We are grateful to the doctors and the hospital for saving my child. The doctors are hopeful that he will never have this problem again. Even the headache Abdul complained about would vanish in next few days," said Imran. According to the doctors at SRCC, "Abdul also has a liver condition, that is not seen with a brain aneurysm, making this a rare case. We will gradually start the treatment for his liver, as the biggest challenge for us was to save his life."

First hospital missed aneurysm
Dr Nishant Aditya said, "The first CT scan taken on October 16, soon after the boy fell, showed signs of haemorrhage, but it was ignored as it was believed that the haemorrhage had been caused as the result of a fall he suffered while riding a cycle. Despite that, the child was lucky to have survived the haemorrhage." But a few weeks after he survived that, Abdul suffered from another haemorrhage. "We diagnosed it as a case of subarachnoid haemorrhage and a brain angiography found a large aneurysm on the top of intestinal carotid artery (that supply blood to major left brain), which was quite big, a rarity in paediatric cases. This is the first such case in our centre." "We are satisfied with Abdul's prognosis and he has not developed any side effects. We have examined his speech, vision, motor activities and everything is fine. He will be kept under observation for a few days, before being discharged. He may need a visit on and off for at least six months," said Dr Nishant.

Rs 8.70 lakh Cost of Abdul's surgery and hospital stay

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Abdul speaks
Speaking to mid-day from the hospital bed, Abdul said, "I am feeling much better, I do not have a headache anymore. I want to go home and play with my younger sister Umera." Abdul said he misses school and when mid-day asked him about what he aims to pursue as a career, he said, "My parents are not very educated. I want to fulfil my father's dream by studying hard and becoming a school teacher one day."

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