Child eats supari, battles for life

 A six-year-old girl is struggling for life in All India Institute of Medical Sciences after consuming sweet betel nut. She came out of coma on Thursday, but doctors say she is not out of danger yet. She might suffer life-long brain damage.

Payal, daughter of Govind Singh a property dealer in north Delhi, went to her maternal grandparents house in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh for summer vacation.

There she ate flavoured supari  easily available at pan shops. She felt acute breathlessness soon after but recovered in some time. Next day she felt breathless again and her condition started deteriorating.

The girl was immediately brought to Delhi and admitted in a private nursing home near her house.

As her condition did not improve, she was taken to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital the next day. The girl did not get relief there too and was taken to Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya. After two days of treatment, she had a respiratory attack. When Payal stabilised, she was referred to AIIMS.

Payal was admitted in respiratory surgery department. an operation on her throat was conducted on Sunday and four pieces of supari were taken out.Dr H K Das, her treating doctor said flavoured supari has many toxic chemicals that have infected her wind pipe.

Now Payal is dependent on external devices for all the functions normally performed by the windpipe. She is unable to breathe and eat on her own. She is unable to talk. The girl is being nasal-fed and provided oxygen externally. “She came out of coma today, but can’t talk,” her father said.

Doctors earlier believed if she comes out of coma, her situation would improve. But even on Thursday, they did not claim that the girl is out of danger.

Doctors said Payal’s brain did not receive oxygen for sometime after the respiratory attack which damaged her brain cells. They suspect she might suffer memory loss. An MRI scan of her brain is still awaited which will clear the situation further.

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