Surgery makes children walk

Fifteen-year-old Satheesh Shetty, a native of  Monnehalli village in Hassan, who was born with rigid knee joint can now bend his knee.

He quit school after Class 7, as he could not walk to the school, as it was located in another village. Rini Sarah George, yet another Class 7 student, whose both legs were club-foot underwent an operation. However, only one of her legs was corrected.
She now dreams of joining dance class after recovery.

Satheesh and Rini are among the 175 children, who underwent surgery at Sparsh Vachana, a week-long project conducted by Sparsh Hospital, which concluded on Sunday.
Out of these, 50 per cent of the children will be able to walk, while another 25 per cent will require another round of surgery after a few years, the doctors said. However, six children were not operated on, either because they were too young or had some medical condition.

For example, Shruthi (8) from Bangalore had a deformed hip. Doctors informed that if she was operated upon now, she would have to undergo another surgery after five years. Thus, the team decided to conduct the surgery at once, when she would attain 13 years,” said Dr Chikkamuniyappa, Consultant, Joint-replacement Services, Sparsh Hospital.

"Having taken the oath to serve, we doctors would like to help all, but we cannot. As affordability is the main reason, which determines accessibility to healthcare. Thus, when someone offers to sponsor the treatment, it turns out to be a luxury for us.”
Awareness among the public about orthopaedic problems helps in early detection of deformities among the children, he added.

Surgeries were performed in four operation theatres and each OT was assigned with 10 to 13 cases. "It's been an overwhelming experience. After the children were selected, their videos and medical history were uploaded on our website and made accessible to all the 30 doctors. The doctors’ team studied each case and chose their respective patients,” explained Dr Sharan Patil,  hospital's chairman. The doctors arrived a day before the surgery and interacted with the children.

One of the Mumbai doctors, Dr Pradnya Sawant, Head of Department, Paediatric Anaesthesia, B J Wadia Hospital for Children, said that she had heard of this kind of initiative for the first time, in Bangalore.

"I was on duty for three days and it was very hectic. We would begin the surgeries at 7 am and it would go on till 7 pm. I would like to render my help again for this kind of project. This event should be emulated in every state,” she observed.

Dr Patil informed that this would be made an annual event, as all the surgeons have enlisted their services for the next year, as well. "If 1,500 children are born with club foot every year and if we can treat them at their birth, there will be no deformed child in the State. To attain this is my dream,” he added.

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