Delhi woman with bone disorder restricted to bed for want of Rs 3 lakh
Savita, 25 suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis, which has left her immobile. She need Rs 3 lakh for hip replacement and spine correction surgeries.delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2017 10:03 IST
For the last couple of years, Savita, who wishes to go by her first name, has been restricted to bed. She spends her days lying in a foetal position. The 35-year-old has a condition called ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis or joint inflammation and pain that affects spine, hips and the neck.
“The disease is progressive. Earlier, she was in pain, but could at least go to the washroom on her own. Now, she cannot move at all,” said her sister, who doesn’t want to be named.
For Savita to be able to walk again on her own, two hip replacement surgeries and a spine correction surgery has to be done. The implants for the three surgeries required are not available at Lok Nayak hospital, where she has been undergoing treatment. Buying the implants would cost the family approximately Rs 3 lakh, which they have not been able to save up.
“The surgery is free for the patients coming to the hospital. But, orthopaedic implants are expensive and not all of it are available in the hospital all the time, so the patients have to buy them,” said Dr Ajay Gupta, professor of orthopaedics at Lok Nayak hospital, who is treating the woman. The family has also not been able to get help under the Delhi Arogya Kosh as they technically do not belong to the economically weaker section, earning less than Rs 3 lakh a year.
“The doctor said that we would have to spend around a couple of lakhs for the surgery for the implants,” said Savita’s sister, “But, my father does not work, and my mother and brother earn very little by working at factories pasting boxes.”
For the last two years, Savita has not been able to get the surgeries, even though the doctor suggested it. To pass her time, she sews designs on cloth for a boutique with the limited function of her wrists. “The sewing brings in some money. But, she can only do it on days when she is not in pain,” said her sister, adding that she has to be on pain killers continuously.
Around 0.1 per cent to 1.4 per cent of the population is affected by the disease, meaning it is common. “However, we see ankylosing spondylitis most commonly in men. It starts in the teens and the joints deteriorate when they are about 30. However, this case is uncommon because it is in a woman, she is just 33 years old and her joints have almost been completely damaged,” said Dr Ajay Gupta, professor of orthopaedics at Lok Nayak hospital.
Savita needs to get a hip replacement surgery at the earliest to be able to get at least some mobility. “She is like a bundle of bones, she cannot even change positions. She has her entire life ahead of her and getting a hip replacement surgery will help her move around on her own. However, she will have a stoop once she has the surgery — osteotomy, in which we will cut parts of her spine and make it straight,” said Dr Gupta.
“After the surgeries, she will no longer have the pain or be dependent on pills because the damaged joints would be gone,” he said.