Chandigarh: Shrishti, now 12-year-old, got an electric shock when she was just 5 years of age, and both her arms got amputated. Her mother’s whole world went upside down as after this accident, her father abandoned them. Mother Renu Sharma did not know where to go, what to do, whom to seek help from. The child was not studying, was mum and non-responsive. She was taken to PGIMER where they met physiatrist Dr Somya Saxena, and the whole story changed into one of inspiration. Dr Somya Saxena first got her admitted to Kendriya Vidyalaya School. Dr Saxena wrote many letters to KV school Zirakpur and put all her efforts into getting Srishti admitted to the school.
Dr Saxena made a mum child believe that she could live a normal life and intitiated her into artificial limbs that, as child of five years, Shrishti started get used to at a fast pace. Gradually, Shrishti started drawing with her feet. Now, Shrishti can take bath, brush her teeth, wear clothes, go to the washroom, write all on her own without anyone’s help.
All this happened with the support of the PGI orthopedic department team and the efforts of Dr Somya Saxena who is a team member of Head of Orthopedic Department, Dr Mandeep Dhillon’s conceived Amputee Clinic. Though the amputee clinic started six months back, efforts are made to make an amputee’s life easy.
Dr Mandeep shared his idea of starting an amputee clinic which is quite heartwrenching. Dr Dhillion stated, “I was crossing a roadside where I met a beggar. The beggar told me if I recognized him, I said no. He said I am the same one whom you saved after amputating my leg.” Dr Dhillon in shock asked him “why are you begging?” The beggar said that he has been shunted out of his job due to the loss of limb. This made Dr Dhillon think of an amputee clinic where an amputee shall not only get a limb or medical care, but social security as well.
Then came Vikram Sehgal, industrialist of Mecron Industries who pitched in the idea and donated Rs 4.5 lakh to the amputee clinic. Vikram Sehgal now is thinking of brining in more philanthropists to donate to this amputee clinic and even would ask his industrialist friends to employ amputees in their respective ventures. Shrishti’s enthusiasm inspired not only other patients, but philanthropists as well. Shrishti’s mother Renu Sharma said, “She is the one who motivates me before I could motivate her. She does not allow anyone to show sympathy to her. She does all of her work and never seeks help from anyone.”
Prof Dhillon enumerated the accomplishments made under the initiative during the last six months as follows: 1. With focused attention, complications related to surgery have drastically reduced (<10%), and the majority of our patients are free of stump complications. This is due to a special Orthopaedic team that caters to these individuals and prioritizes emergency care; 2. Patient support from our dedicated nursing staff and social supporters has led to increased awareness about life after amputation, and the possibility of prosthesis application; 3. Timely and regular follow-up in a dedicated OPD with combined clinics and interaction with other amputees has helped the patients to clear apprehensions and anxiety regarding the present and the future. The PMR department has provided comprehensive pre-prosthetic and post-prosthetic care which is very necessary for the success of prosthesis fitment and prevention of prosthesis complications; 4. So far, none of our patients has rejected his or her prosthesis which is commendable as compared to Western and European countries where the rejection rate ranges from 50 -80%; 5. One unique feature is that in addition to guiding patients where to get the artificial limbs, PGI has now fitted more than 20 prostheses to our patients over the last 6 months; 6. Now philanthropic industrials (MICRON Industries) have come forward to support this initiative, donating Rs 4.5 lakh for the care of amputees.
Prof Dhillon said: “With the gaining popularity through word of mouth of ‘PGI Amputee Clinic’, we not only are catering to the patients who present to us following amputation, but also various hospitals of neighbouring states (Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh) have started referring their own patients to us so that these patients can also receive a wholesome and holistic approach.”