Mumbai toddler with broken spine needs 44 surgeries, till she turns 13

Aug 08, 2014, 08:48 IST | Shirish Vaktania

Two-year-old Arpita was born with a broken spine, prompting doctors to support it with a rod; however, as her height increases, doctors will have to operate once every three months

Two-year-old Arpita has already gone through two surgeries and has many more waiting for her. The toddler, who was born with a broken spine, will have to undergo surgery once every three months — a total of four a year till she turns 13.

Arpita’s father Shivprasad works at a shop that sells fish tanks near Kalyan station and earns Rs 8,000 per month
Arpita’s father Shivprasad works at a shop that sells fish tanks near Kalyan station and earns Rs 8,000 per month

The first time she went under the knife around six months ago, doctors inserted a rod to support her broken spine. As the child grows, doctors will have to adjust the length of the rod to her increasing height. Each surgery will cost R40,000. This means that her family will have to shell out R1.6 lakh annually, for the four mandatory surgeries.

Bent under the weight of this prognosis is Arpita’s father Shivprasad, who works at a shop that sells fish tanks outside Kalyan station. He earns R8,000 every month. To make ends meet and in hope of affording the slew of surgeries that Arpita will need as she grows, he has been working night shifts in a small garage. Arpita’s mother is a housewife.

Arpita's doctor said, “The child was born with a broken spine. The doctor performed a surgery in which a rod was fitted, but as she grows in age, more surgeries are required to increase the size of the rod, till she turn 13.” Shivprasad said, “I am a middle-class man and don’t make more than Rs 8,000 every month.

My daughter has been doing well ever since a rod was attached to her spine, but every three months, I have to pay R40,000 for a fresh operation. It is next to impossible for me to bear the cost of these surgeries. I have taken up a part-time job at a garage to earn some extra money. In the next three months, I have to arrange for R40,000 for the operation to change the rod. I will work even harder to save my daughter’s life.

Thanks to the surgery, she is walking properly and can even play with other kids. We need financial help for my child.” Govind Shinde, assistant surgeon at Hinduja Hospital, said, “Our doctor, Abhay Nene, is not taking any consulting or surgery fees from Arpita’s parents.

The hospital is only charging the fees for the operation and medical cost. We are helping to save her future.” Dr Abhay Nene told mid-day, “The patient is under my treatment. She needs re-operation every year for the readjustment of the construct. The approximate cost for each surgery is Rs 40,000.”

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