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Mom at govt door for boy’s surgery

- Holes in heart, no cash for operation

A homemaker has knocked on the doors of the South Dinajpur district administration for financial help for her three-year-old son to undergo a critical heart surgery.

The district administration has promised all help.

The 34-year-old Hasina Bibi’s fourth child, Imran Mandal, has been suffering from heart-related problems since birth. Heart specialists in Calcutta and at a private heart hospital in Bangalore have recommended urgent life-saving surgery.

Hasina Bibi, a resident of Angina village of Kumarganj, says the doctors have given them an estimate of around Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 lakh for the operation.

“The problem first became evident when Imran was around two months old. He suffered breathing problems for more than a fortnight. I took him to a paediatrician at the district hospital in Balurghat. He told me that my son had a heart problem and needed special attention,” she says.

Later, after an echocardiography was conducted, it was found that there were two holes in the valves of Imran’s heart.

Hasina took Imran to R.N. Tagore Hospital in Calcutta and Narayana Hridayalay in Bangalore. As Imran’s condition worsened – Hasina says his skin began to turn blue – urgent surgery was advised.

“But the surgery will cost between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 3.5 lakh, with an additional Rs 18,000 for angiogram,” says Hasina Bibi.

Hasina’s husband is a day wage earner and often goes outside Bengal to earn his livelihood. Imran was born after three of Hasina’s daughters.

“We are very poor. We cannot afford the surgery. But neither can we see our son die. His condition is getting worse day by day. Now he cannot take his food properly and his growth has been stunted. My husband has to go outside the state to earn money for the treatment. We borrow money from others and when my husband comes back home, we repay. With a small income, we can barely live and can’t afford treatment,” she adds.

Drubaranjan Sarkar, doctor at a government hospital in Balurghat, said the boy was suffering from congenital heart disease.

“It is a congenital heart disease which needs special attention. The human heart has two valves — mitral and tricuspid. If there is a hole in them, the circulation of blood is affected, resulting in massive pressure on the heart. Then the valves need replacement through surgery and the cost of the surgery is high. It can be done at government hospitals. But to get admission there is no doubt tough,” says Drubaranjan Sarkar, doctor at a government hospital in Balurghat.

Tapas Chaudhury, district magistrate of South Dinajpur, said help would be given for the surgery under a new scheme.

“The mother had come to me. I have sent the application to the district health department to do the needful in this regard. The government has initiated a scheme, Sishusathi, under which poor children can get financial assistance for treatment at government and private hospitals,” said.

Hasina Bibi has also written to the chief minister.