A desperate Indian father whose young child suffers from a condition that caused her head to swell up to an enormous size said on Saturday he is praying for a “miracle” to save her life.
Eighteen-month-old Roona Begum was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, in which cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, just weeks after her birth in a government hospital in remote Tripura state in northeast India.
The potentially fatal illness has caused Roona’s head to swell to a circumference of 91cm, putting pressure on her brain.
Her father, Abdul Rahman, 18, who lives in a mud hut with his family in the village of Jirania Khola, said he prays for “a miracle” that will save his only child.
“Day by day, I saw her head growing too big after she was born,” said the illiterate laborer, who works in a brick-making factory.
Doctors told him to go to a specialist hospital in a big city such as Kolkata in eastern India to get medical help, but Rahman, who earns 150 rupees (US$2.75) a day working in the brick plant, said he does not have the money to take her.
“It is very difficult to watch her in pain. I pray several times a day for a miracle — for something to make my child better,” he said.
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates about one in every 500 children suffers from hydrocephalus.
The most common treatment involves the surgical insertion of a shunt system to drain cerebrospinal fluid away from the brain and toward another part of the body where it can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Cases like Roona’s, where the head has doubled in size in a relatively short span of time, are extremely rare, according to leading Indian neurosurgeon Sandeep Vaishya.
“It’s difficult to assess the situation without seeing the patient, but a surgery, even at this late stage, would give her brain the best chance it has to grow and develop normally,” Vaishya said.
Vaishya, who is the head of neurosurgery at the privately run Fortis flagship hospital in Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi, said that surgeries to treat hydrocephalus cases are “not particularly risky.”
He estimated that a complex surgery like this one would cost about 125,000 rupees (US$2,300) and require a three-day hospital stay.
Roona now is confined to her bed and unable to move her head, but she is a playful child, quick to smile and giggle and is able to move her limbs, her father said. She has outlived an initial prognosis by doctors that she would survive only two months.
However, her mother, Fatema Khatun, 25, said the little girl’s health is getting worse and that she urgently needs help.
“She is deteriorating. She eats less and less, vomits often and I can see that she is getting thinner,” Khatun said.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big