A 10-year-old girl has been in agony in New Delhi since a sudden collapse of her school wall left her with serious external and internal injuries. Her traumatised family is spending thousands of rupees daily on her treatment but is not sure if she will ever be her normal bubbly self.
Doctors treating Mahima Gupta at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in south Delhi have their fingers crossed.
The girl's left leg and left wrist are almost paralysed. She has spent over 10 days in two hospitals and is under intensive care. Doctors say Mahima will be in hospital for at least three more weeks and undergo medication for six months.
Mahima's mother, who has another younger son, has almost stopped eating food. The father, who is in the construction business in Faridabad near New Delhi, has begun to live in the hospital, shelling out 10,000 to 15,000 rupees a day on Mahima.
Sanjay Gupta, worry writ large on his face, told that the Lady Irwin School, whose boundary fall crashed on his daughter around 1.30 pm on Feb 20 as she waited for the schoolbus, has promised to give Rs 25,000 for medical care but he is yet to see any money.
When the school was contacted an attendant who answered the phone said: "The principal and head mistress don't want to talk to anyone." Repeated attempts to reach the principal and head mistress on their mobile phones also failed. But the attendant accepted the facts related to the accident.
When the Class IV girl was pulled out from under the collapsed wall, she was bleeding, crying in pain and in shock. Doctors at the Moolchand Hospital where she was taken to found she had multiple fractures on legs, hands and hip. The internal injuries had affected her lungs, liver and intestine.
Mahima was shifted to the Max hospital in Saket a day later.
"Mahima was brought in a very critical situation. She is suffering from multiple trauma and crushed injury syndrome," said TK Lama, paediatric surgeon at the Max hospital.
"She has undergone an intestine surgery and her multiple fractures are to be operated upon. She has to stay in the hospital for nearly four weeks in all and be under medication for at least six months," Lama told.
The father cannot come to grips with what has happened to his daughter.
"I don't know what is going to happen to my child. She has sustained so many injuries and her left leg is almost paralysed. She is still critical," said the man, with a deadpan expression.
"We had lots of hope on Mahima as she is our first kid. Now we are not sure about her education, about her mental growth. Even doctors fear that the incident may affect her reproductive capability," he almost mumbled.
"Neither her mother nor I have taken food properly since Mahima got injured. I have a baby boy and my wife is at home taking care of him," said Gupta.
He said he had so far spent over Rs 200,000 on Mahima's treatment and feared that further medical bills would cost him another Rs 300,000.
"I am spending 10,000 to 15,000 rupees per day. Several tests on her are costing me," said Gupta, who has not attended work since the tragedy.
"It's a dual loss — my daughter's condition is critical and I am incurring loss in my business as well."
According to him, the school had promised to meet her medical bills.
"The school authorities told me that they would bear all the expenditure but now they are offering only Rs 25,000," he said, with a bitterness in his voice.
The school principal and some teachers came to meet Mahima at the Moolchand hospital, but no one has called on her at the Max Hospital, Gupta complained.
"The principal and head mistress stayed nearly 30 minutes on the first day. On the second day the head mistress came for nearly 10 minutes. And after that no one has visited us."