Sheetal Rawat, 11, was munching on chips on her way home from school when the Mehrauli bomb blast tore her life apart. Shrapnel found its way inside her mouth and cut her tongue and shattered her teeth.
Though there is little scarring on her face, the wounds inside her mouth still haven’t healed.
“She has difficulty swallowing food, can’t speak clearly and suffers from constant pain. It happened four month ago on September 27 but the pain hasn’t gone. She’s even stopped complaining now because she knows there is little we can do,” said her mother Pushpa, a housewife.
It’s not that her parents haven’t tried. After the blast, Sheetal was in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) Trauma Centre ICU for a week.
“We were told the right side of her mouth was damaged completely from shrapnel that entered through her mouth and reached her vertebral column. Her tongue has 75 per cent damage, eight teeth are shattered and the shrapnel is still lodged in her spine,” said her father Bachchan Singh Rawat, who works as a driver and lives in Arya Nagar near Mehrauli with his wife and three children.
From the ICU, Sheetal was referred to the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at AIIMS, where the doctors did not take the case seriously, claims the family. “We were pushed from one department to another, from one doctor to another for two months without results. No one even listened to the problem, forget about treating her,” said Pushpa. In desperation, the Rawats went to a private hospital where they were given an estimate of Rs 3 lakh. “I am a driver. Where will I get this huge amount? I have never felt so helpless,” he said.
When contacted, AIIMS administration agreed to look into the matter. “Patients expect miracles overnight and often don’t come back. If they come back, of course we will treat her,” said Dr D. K. Sharma, medical superintendent, AIIMS.
“Bahut dard hota hai, par kya karoon. Kya yeh theek nahi hoga kabhi? (It pains a lot but what can I do. Will this pain never go?),” said the Class VII student of Kendriya Vidyalaya number 2.
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