CHENNAI:Geetha Subramani’s life changed when she met with a road accident in 2014. Her son lost both his legs and she lost mobility on one. They both have been permanently disabled. Four years on, a sudden infection in her broken limb is costing her more than what her husband, who is a daily-wage worker, can afford.
“My husband, who is a coolie, not only has to support a family of four, he also has to pay for all our medical expenses,” said Geetha. Among other important moments that she has lost to her disability, Geetha’s wish to lift her son up to embrace him has become an unrealistic dream.
Geetha and her then three-year-old son Krithick Roshan, were walking back from school when a car rammed into them, severely injuring their legs. Doctors amputated both his legs, and the bones on her right leg were damaged beyond repair.
Their life has been a series of visits to hospitals after the accident. During the accident, her tibia bone, the leg bone that bears almost 75 per cent of the body weight, was damaged severely. Doctors from a private hospital had replaced it with a metallic implant. Although the structure of her leg was retained by the procedure, she lost her ability to walk. This is because, the implant stretched from her knees to her heels, denying her any scope of moving her ankle.
Even after the surgery, her leg frequently developed minor infections, which had to be treated regularly. When she did not have the funds to get the right treatment after, Dr N Mayilvahanan, an orthopedic surgeon, and N Manickavel, a surgeon, reached out to their friends and The New Indian Express and other newspapers to raise funds to treat her. After nearly two years of rehabilitation and monthly hospital visits, she recovered just enough to walk to the bathroom from her bed.
All her recovery went in vain, when her operated leg again developed an infection recently. “We had to remove the implant to prevent any further complication. We have supported the structural framework of the leg through external rings,” said Dr Mayilvahanan, adding that once her infection heals, they would have to insert a new implant. “We have sold or mortgaged all the jewellery and property we had. We don’t have any money left for the surgery,” said Geetha.
“We have waived off consultation fees and managed with insurance so far. But the patient’s family needs money for the new implant and surgery,” said Dr Manickavel stating that the entire procedure may cost from `2-`4 lakh. Geetha and her family are looking for funds to complete the procedure.
Hopes and dreams
“Between two disabled family members and frequent hospital visits, my husband is unable to go to work. Because of the financial and emotional strain, we have not given importance to our 11-year-old daughter,” said Geetha adding that she aspires to be a normal mother to her two children some day. Her son aspires to become an ‘Anju Rooba doctor’ (a doctor who charges only `5 for treating anybody) when he grows up.