On her legs again | delhi | Hindustan Times
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On her legs again

On her thirteenth birthday on May 12, Sarah D’Souza (name changed on request) will stand up straight. Three years ago, Sarah developed juvenile scoliosis — a medical condition that causes the spine to curve — that caused her spine to bend at a 52-degree angle to the left.

delhi Updated: May 12, 2010 01:51 IST
Rhythma Kaul

On her thirteenth birthday on May 12, Sarah D’Souza (name changed on request) will stand up straight. Three years ago, Sarah developed juvenile scoliosis — a medical condition that causes the spine to curve — that caused her spine to bend at a 52-degree angle to the left.

Abandoned in an orphanage in the temple town of Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand by her father when she was only 15 days old, Sarah developed her spine deformity at age 10.

Simeon Karada (33), a social worker who along with his wife has been taking care of Sarah, showed her to various doctors in Uttarakhand before being referred to Delhi for the highly specialised surgery.

Karada took her to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), but they were turned away. They then went to Batra Hospital, where a seven-and-a-half-hour surgery on April 21, done by a team of 15 doctors, corrected her spine and repaired the damaged back skin using skin grafts from her thigh.

“The acute curvature put severe pressure on her lungs, due to which they could not develop fully, and restricted the normal breathing process,” said Dr Sanjeev Bagai, senior consultant paediatrician and CEO of Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre, who was a part of the team that operated on Sarah.

The team comprised specialists from various departments such as anaesthesia, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and paediatrics.

Since Karada did not have the Rs 3 lakh needed for surgery, he raised the amount with the help of Alexandra Ashman, a UK-citizen who lives in Delhi.

“I had a similar problem and knew how painful the disease is. I knew I had to help her out,” said Ashman.