Three days after Charu Khandal, 28, underwent a surgery, she has been diagnosed with quadriplegia — her body is paralysed neck down, said Dr Ram Narain, executive director, Kokilaben hospital.
Khandal was injured on March 24 when a drunk driver hit the autorickshaw she was travellling in with her sister and a friend. She sustained multiple fractures to her vertebrae and injured spinal cord in the cervical or neck region. Her friend Vikrant Goyal was also injured and is recuperating in the same hospital. “She is off all sedation and is conscious. She can recognise her friends and family. Although she is on ventilator right now, we will try to wean her off the ventilator from Monday. We will also try to mobilise her and see if she can be made to sit. As of now she does not have sensation below neck region. It is going to be a long haul,” said Dr Narain.
Meanwhile, her friends have created a Facebook page to garner support against drink driving so that no one else is subjected to a similar fate again. The page now has over 850 subscribers.
“Charu has every right to live. Who gave that drunk man the right to decide otherwise for her? Who gave him the right to decide that she’ll spend the rest of her life bedridden? All her dreams, her desires have been crushed.
This Facebook page is to create awareness against drink driving so that no one else falls prey to such destiny again,” said Mauli Singh, Khandal’s friend. Her friends say that they hope that Charu’s case is not forgotten and that people uphold her fight for justice until concrete measures are taken by the authorities.
“Charu is not the first such victim. We are hoping that people do not dismiss this issue with time and support the cause so that no other man gets the right to deprive an innocent person of her right to live again. Laws need to be changed and the accused should be punished appropriately,” said Esha Lepcha, another friend of the animator.