On June 7, Sadika Patel, a thalassaemia patient, delivered premature twin girls at Nanavati Hospital. Patel suffered a postpartum shock with pneumonia and pulmonary edema, where fluid filled in her lungs. She was discharged on Wednesday.
Most thalassaemia major patients are unable to conceive and deliver babies, said doctors.
Patel, who had a regular menstruation cycle, was advised not to conceive after she had a miscarriage in 2011. She conceived naturally and had a normal delivery. Doctors said the delivery and survival was nothing short of a miracle. “Earlier, thalassaemic children would not survive beyond 10 years. Now, with medical advancements and availability of blood, patients live longer. But many patients are infertile because of iron overload on the pituitary gland that controls the reproductive hormones,” said Dr Rashid Merchant, consulting paediatrician, Nanavati hospital.
“In many thalassaemia major children, secondary sexual characteristics develop very late. They usually need to undergo treatment,” said Vinay Shetty, founder member of Think Foundation that works with thalassaemic children in the city.
Blood transfusions and treatment are expensive. Patel lives in a slum in Bandra (East) and her husband works as a door-to-door salesman. Patel’s grandfather, Abbas Shaikh, 85, has been collecting donations from various trusts for her treatment. “Sadika is very lucky to have found a partner, who accepted her. Most of my patients cannot find a partner,” said Dr Merchant.