8-Year-Old Girl Travels 460 Km to Mumbai For Spinal Surgery

Partially paralysed, the girl’s parents had to go through six hospitals before they found a doctor for the surgery.

2 min read
Ravita’s parents sit by her bedside at Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital.

The last month has been a nightmare for eight-year-old Ravita Valvi and her family.

At about 2pm on 29 September, Ravita fell from a tree at her home near Dhadgaon tehsil in Maharashtra’s Nandurbar district. Finding her severely injured, Ravita’s parents rushed her to the nearest hospital in Dhadgaon only to find out that they were not equipped to treat their daughter’s injuries.

We took her to a nearby hospital which didn’t accept her. They asked us to take her to a bigger hospital. That’s when we decided to go to Nandurbar. We carried her on a makeshift stretcher to Narmada bus stop. From there, we took a vehicle that the Nandurbar Hospital sent us.
Shanti Valvi, Ravita’s mother
8-year-old Ravita gets ready for a check-up by her doctor.
8-year-old Ravita gets ready for a check-up by her doctor.
(Photo: The Quint)

Even the Nandurbar Civil Hospital was ill-equipped to treat their daughter. Ravita’s parents then turned their hopes to Mumbai, but not before facing another disappointment at the Dhule hospital.

While they initially admitted their daughter to the government-run KEM Hospital where she was to be treated by a spine surgeon, the family however left due to language barriers.

“We only understand Pawra language. We didn’t know what the doctors were saying,” said Shanti as she stood by her daughter’s bed. Ravita has now been admitted to Gokuldas Tejpal Hospital where she will be undergoing a surgery on Friday.

When she came to us she was dehydrated, malnourished and had bed sores. We have done X-Ray, CT and MRI, and after that we have planned for a surgery. The MRI suggests that the spinal cord is completely cut at dorsal spine level and that’s why she doesn’t have any sensation in her legs. We will be fusing the column with medical screws and rods.     
Dr Dhiraj Sonawane, consultant spine and scoliosis surgeon

Doctors, however, believe there’s hardly any chance that Ravita will be able to walk again. Delayed treatment and constant movement after sustaining the injury, have only worsened her chances.

Ravita has been registered under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, and will be receiving free surgeries under the scheme. Doctors treating her say she could be discharged two weeks after her surgery if she recovers well.

“We just pray to God that our daughter becomes healthy soon. I don’t want anything else” said Shanti.

Producer and cameraperson: Ankita Sinha

Editor: Veeru Mohan

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