MALDA, WEST BENGAL: Two years after a spinal cord injury had crippled him and took away his desire to live, 24-year-old Suman Das of Malda district has now started looking back at life with new hopes.
Suman had raised the euthanasia debate in West Bengal by seeking permission to end his life in the face of serious illness and abject poverty.
But now his focus has changed.
"No, I do not want to die any more," said Suman who is now able to walk with the help of a walker, thanks to the effort of a physiotherapist who is treating him free of cost.
Das had shot off a letter to the District Magistrate on October 28, 2016 praying that he be allowed to opt for euthanasia after returning from a Bengaluru hospital following a spinal cord surgery.
He had to return from Bengaluru as the post-operation physiotherapy procedures involved high medical expenses which the poor labourer from Englishbazar block could not afford.
"My son could not move his hands and feet after the surgery in Bengaluru in mid-2016 and the hospital advised prolonged physiotherapy there which was very expensive," his mother Saraswati Devi told PTI.
On return Suman had slipped into acute depression and wrote the letter to the district administration.
A local NGO and his neighbours then came to his side, Devi recalled.
While the neighbours motivated him to come out of depression, physiotherapist Sunirmal Ghosh who is attached to the NGO came to his residence in the middle of 2017 and took the responsibility of bringing his life back on track.
A couple of months back Suman showed signs of improvement managing to move his limbs, his mother said adding that her son is can now move a bit with walker.
Suman said, "I don't want to die anymore. I had almost given up hope of any recovery and hence wrote that letter in a moment of extreme depression. But there is a new ray of hope now. I know I will be able to move out of my room and see the world again." Suman had lost his father at a young age and has a brother.
Suman recalled he had suffered spinal cord injury in early 2016 while unloading sacks of rice and had been referred to Kolkata by Malda Hospital.
From Kolkata he was referred to a medical facility in Bengaluru. Ghosh said Suman is young and his entire life lies ahead.
"It is our job to treat patients and bring them back on life's track."
Earlier this week the Supreme Court had recognised a 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia.