23 June 2013
After years of struggle and spending over Rs1 crore on treatment, a Pakistani couple found solace in an Indian neurologist Dr Rajas Deshpande and other doctors at Ruby Hall Clinic in Pune, who agreed to treat their five-year old ailing daughter.
DNA reports that the family hails from Gujarat city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. After three months of the birth of their fourth child, jeweller Jamshaid Iqbal and his wife were told that the girl suffered from mental retardation with cerebral palsy, had very little sight and maybe would never speak. Within a few weeks, Sajal started getting seizures up to 40 times a day, her entire body went rigid with no movement. Her parents had never seen her smile or heard her voice, even crying.
“We consulted the best doctors in Pakistan but they couldn’t offer her treatment. I then packed my bags and took her to a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She started showing improvement. I heard her cry, she started holding her neck but her seizures persisted. We were referred to Holland but doctors there also couldn’t treat her,” the mother was quoted saying by DNA.
Jamshaid recalled how he then took the entire family and a friend to Germany. “After paying thousands of dollars, they said sorry. After I lashed out at them, they suggested stem cell therapy but it had risk of death. We went back to Saudi Arabia where doctors suggested treatment in Pune, India. I gave up hope but my wife didn’t and her struggle to obtain a visa started,” he said.
That was 1.5 years ago and several visits to Ruby Hall Clinic have followed since then. Now India is like second home to the Iqbals, the country where their bundle of joy found her voice.
“She now says monosyllabic words, she even smiles. She looks at us when we talk to her. Most importantly her seizures have completely stopped. I cannot tell you how grateful we are. I feel my daughter has finally come to life,” the wailing mother told DNA.
The struggle of the mother has been inspirational for even the most hardened hearts. Dr Deshpande said he rarely comes across a mother with such grit. “It is a struggle to see one’s child in this condition but the determination of the mother is commendable. The girl’s parents may not be very educated but know everything there is to know, every medical centre known to treat their girl’s condition. The girl makes the slightest of movement or noise and her mother can interpret it correctly,” he said.
Ask him about the girl’s medical condition, he said that he had to try two to three drug regimes before arriving at the right therapy. “Currently all she requires is anti-epileptic and some neurological drugs. She had developed pneumonia in both the lungs a couple of months ago but the mother struggled to get her to India again even when her visa was denied. Today the girl has nearly recovered,” said Deshpande.
In two days time, the family will return to Pakistan but not for long – they would be back for the girl’s next follow-up and the free coffee at the friendly hotel where they have been staying. “People in India are really loving, they welcomed me with open arms and gave our girl a new life,” said Jamshaid.