Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan (left), Afsheen Gul and Yaqoob after the operation. Photo: afsheengul786/Instagram
The girl — Afsheen Gul from Pakistan — was born healthy but she got injured while playing when she was eight months old. She suffered from cerebral palsy. The problem later aggravated to the extent that Afsheen had to struggle to eat, use the toilet and even go outside.
However, last week, Afsheen underwent a sucessful life-changing surgery at Apollo Hospitals in Delhi where she is recovering in intensive care. Earlier, she was taken to the Apollo hospitals in February 2018 when the specialists said that there would be only 50 per cent chance of survival and asked Afsheen's brother Mohmad Yaqoob to go home and think. However, nothing happened thereafter.
Meanwhile, Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan, a specialist of complex spinal surgeries, was ready to help Afsheen. He was in touch with Yaqoob. Finally, Yaqoob with his sister Afsheen again visited India on November 16 last year and Dr Krishnan met her and offered his services to do Afsheen's surgery completely free of charge.
Afsheen Gul before the operation. Photo: afsheengul786/Instagram
After meeting her it was clear it was likely she would have died in the short or medium term if left untreated, said Dr Krishnan. He said that it was most probably the first case of its kind in the world. Due to her cerebral palsy, Afsheen only learned to walk aged six and speak when she was eight, but her neck began to bend when she was a year old.
At first she had to have a Halo-Gravity traction put in place back in early December to help her neck be upright for some time. The team of Dr Krishnan which comprised Dr Manoj Sharma, anaesthetists Dr Jayalalitha and Dr Chetan Mehra and Dr Bhanu Pant fused Afsheen's skull to her spine during a six-hour operation on February 28. Doctors operated through the mouth and removed discs from the neck and then fixed the skull to the cervical spine using a rod and screws to keep the neck straight.
Afsheen will be discharged from hospital this month. However, she has to continue wearing a neck brace.
Indo-Asian News Service
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She added that immediately after the operation, she had severe bleeding and blood accumulation in the neck, after which she was admitted to intensive care for two days.