Saturday, 4 May 2013
Hope for Roona Begum, 18-month-old girl with rare skull condition, after undergoing life-saving surgery
A toddler whose head is three times normal size has had the swelling reduced after life-saving surgery.
The head circumference of 18-month-old Roona Begum has fallen from 37ins to 29ins following a series of procedures at a private hospital near India's capital New Delhi.
Tragic Roona, who suffers from a severe case of hydrocephalus - water on the brain - is responding well, said her mother Fatima Khatoon, 24.
Treatment: Toddler Roona Begum has had a series of procedures at a private hospital near New Delhi to reduce the swelling of her head which has ballooned to three times normal size
Gentle: A doctor at the hospital near New Delhi tenderly treats Roona for her extreme case of hydrocephalus
Operation: So far doctors have reduced the swelling around 18-month-old Roona's head by nine inches
She added:' It's hard watching our daughter go through this but we know it will be worth it in the end. She's responding more and more after every procedure.'
After her daughter's plight appeared in a number of publications, including MailOnline, a charity came forward to offer help.
The Fortis Foundation flew the poverty-stricken family from their rural village to the hospital in Gurgaon two weeks ago where doctors hope the exploratory procedure will relieve the pressure and allow them to properly examine Roona before deciding how to treat her further.
Worried parents: Mother Fatima Khatoon, 24, and 19-year-old father Abdul Rehman
Waiting: Parents Fatima and Abdul at the private hospital near New Delhi where their daughter is being treatedia.
New hope: Roona begum will undergo surgery to drain fluid from her brain tomorrow after a charity stepped in to help her
Doctors have already said that the youngster is lucky to be alive, with most sufferers of the condition not surviving beyond a year old.
Dr Sandeep Vaishya, Director of Neurosurgery at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, who is treating Roona, said: 'I was surprised when I saw the baby for the first time. Even though I had seen her pictures, I wasn't expecting the head to be so big.
'Her head measures 94 cm, in similar cases the average measurement is around 50-60 cm.
Heartbreaking: 18-month-old Roona's head has swelled to more than three times its normal size due to a rare condition which has caused fluid to collect on her brain
Getting help: Dr Sandeep Vaishya, from the Fortis Memorial Research Institute, examines Roona Begum, who was born with hydrocephalus
Countdown: Abdul and Fatima sit by their daughter's bedside in hospital ahead of the life-saving surgery
Treatment: Roona is being treated at a private hospital after the Fortis Foundation offered to help
'It is swollen to an extent that she is not able to close her eyes completely. We have an opthamologist looking at her eyes, so that there are no complications there.
'We are hopeful that she will make a complete recovery. The challenge is to drain her brain fluid in a gradual manner, so as the brain gets used to it.'
Fatima said: 'When she was born, I wondered why do children of poor people like us suffer this fate?
Loving: Fatima Khatoon attempts to comfort her young daughter as she rests in her hospital bed
Poorly: Doctors say that Roona is lucky to be alive as sufferers of the condition normally do not live beyond a year
'Why is fate cruel to us? Why do rich people who can afford to cure their kids never get diseases like this?
'Before she was born, I went to a doctor twice. Once when I was one month pregnant and than when I was six months pregnant. We did not have money to go more often.
'She was born through a Caesarian operation and the doctor told us we had to take her out of Agartala to get her treated. But we did not have any money at all.'
But the devastated mother revealed some family members had been less than supportive.
Fatima added: 'When she is better, I hope my in-laws accept her. And she can have the love she deserves from her grandparents.'
Roona's father Abdul, 19, added: 'Even though our neighbours come and play with her, my parents have refused to acknowledge her existence, since she was born.'
Abdul, who earns the equivalent of just £1.82 a day as a labourer thanked those who had helped Roona.
He said: 'I cannot find work every day. Its hard enough to earn for food, so her treatment would have been impossible had it not been for the press and hospital people who have helped us.'