Last June, Sana Ansari's food pipe and stomach were burnt when acid was forcibly poured down her throat allegedly by two of her teachers. Since then, she had been unable to eat or even swallow her saliva.
However, five months after undergoing a surgery at JJ Hospital, Byculla, where doctors attached the remaining end of her oesophagus (food pipe) to her large and small intestines, the 17-year-old Malegaon resident is now able to eat solid food.
After the incident, she was being fed through an artificial food pipe. Sana’s doctors are delighted with the recovery as this was a rare case.
Dr Nitin Dhende, head of paediatric surgery of JJ Hospital who conducted the surgery last October said that such a surgery is mostly performed on infants born without an oesophagus. The case was further complicated because Sana’s stomach was totally burnt.
“It was only on the operation table that we discovered that her stomach had been burnt too. The x-ray taken before the surgery didn’t reveal it. We had to take decision instantly,” said Dr Dhende.
At the time of surgery, Sana weighed only 20 kg and would not have survived a lengthy surgery, he added. The doctors joined her large intestine with the leftover tip of the oesophagus pipe near the neck and her small intestine with a tip of the duodenum (tube connecting the stomach to the intestines).
“The patient can survive without a stomach,” said Dr Dhende.
Sana’s mother, Saira Ansari, 37, alleged that on June 30 last year the woman in-charge of the Malegaon madrassa where Sana studied poured acid down her throat. The woman was upset that Sana had gone to Nagpur for a religious programme where she won a prize for her speech.
“I was unsure if I would see my daughter happy again. We tried many hospitals before coming to JJ Hospital,” said Saira, who alleged that the madrassa authorities had offered to get Sana treated abroad if she did not file a police complaint. “Initially, I was convinced, but later, I chose not to hide the truth. Now, that my daughter is healing, I am confident that I can take the culprits to task,” said Saira.
Doctors said Sana would need vitamin supplements to compensate for her missing stomach. Sana, who has gained 9kg since the surgery, is happy to be able to eat.
“I would have had to hold a mug all my life spitting saliva and take saline water, if I had not had the surgery,” said Sana.