Mumbai doctors make Nigerian woman walk again

Published: Oct 27, 2013, 07:01 IST | Anuradha Varanasi |

Two years ago, Becky Oluvatosin was resigned to life on a wheelchair, due to a hereditory blood disorder that left her crippled. Today at 26, she can walk again thanks to a surgery conducted on her by Dr Sachin Bhonsle and his team of surgeons

At a young age of 24, Nigerian national Becky Oluvatosin was left wheelchair- bound due to a hereditary blood disorder that blocked the blood supply to her joint bones that eventually led to multi- joint arthritis.

The ordeal left her nearly crippled for two years. But this September, she returned to England to pursue higher studies where she is now able to lead a normal life.

A miracle occured when she came to Mumbai for her treatment.

After two years of restricted activity and a considerable amount of pain in her joints, Oluvatosin arrived in the city in the first week of September to undergo treatment for arthritis, along with her mother. The multi- joint arthritis was affecting the quality of her life.

Nigerian resident Becky Oluvatosin can't help smiling after Dr Sachin Bhonsle (left) treated her for multi-joint arthritis
Nigerian resident Becky Oluvatosin can't help smiling after Dr Sachin Bhonsle (left) treated her for multi-joint arthritis

The 26- year- old was suffering from sickle- cell disease ( SCD) where the patient’s red blood cells are shaped abnormally — like sickles — which result in avascular necrosis.

In this condition, the patient’s blood supply to the bones gets interrupted due to which, there is cellular death of the bone components. Dr Sachin Bhonsle, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “ Before we conducted the joint replacements, she first underwent an exchange transfusion as SCD had led to blockage in her small arteries and veins in her bones.” After Oluvatosin’s blood cells were replaced with the transfused blood, doctors at the privately- run Mulund hospital conducted the replacement procedures a week later.

“ As joint replacement facilities are limited back in her home country, she consulted us last month after which we simultaneously conducted a total hip replacement along with a knee replacement, where we used ceramic joints,” added Dr Bhonsle.

While the hip and knee replacements were successfully conducted in the first week of September, Oluvatosin was still in a considerable amount of discomfort because of her shoulders, which were also damaged due to arthritis. “ The hereditary blood disorder is most commonly found in tropical countries like India and a few African countries. She needed urgent medical help and extensive treatment of her joints, to help her walk again,” he said. He further added that the incidence rate in certain communities in Navabandar and Kundi community is as high as two per cent. A week of physiotherapy enabled Oluvatosin to walk without crutches.

Doctors then proceeded with her shoulder replacement. Two weeks later, on September 18, Oluvatosin was discharged from the hospital.

She is now pursuing a management course in England. “ I am relieved and glad that I finally underwent treatment for my prolonged disorder. I can now lead a normal life,” said Oluvatosin.

The total amount for the multiple joint replacements came up to almost 15,000 USD for Oluvatosin, which is approximately R 9 lakh in Indian currency.

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