“She used to fall sick often, we always took her to a doctor in Warangal who used to prescribe medicines for her and she would get better. We never knew it was so serious.”
Bharathi is a 15-year-old with a life-threatening disorder that is causing her organs to fail. She was always sickly, but her family never really understood what the real problem was. The medicines prescribed to her by the local doctor would always make her a little better, till they stopped working and she got sick again. It was then that her family brought her to Rainbow hospital in Hyderabad and she was diagnosed with the rare Sickle Cell Disease.
Her sickness went undetected due to lack of medical facilitiesBharathi used to get frequent fevers and acute pain in the stomach and back. She lives in a remote village near Warangal which doesn’t have any medical facilities. Even to get to a bigger village, they need to walk at least 3 kilometres. Due to the lack of medical facilities, her family could never get a thorough health check-up done. Every time she fell sick, her parents rushed her to the nearest doctor in Warangal who prescribed over-the-counter medicines.
But last month, her fever just didn’t subside. She started having body ache like never before. Suddenly she was struggling to breathe easy and no medicines worked this time. Her parents brought her to Hyderabad. There she was diagnosed and her parents realised just how sick she was. Due to delay in getting medical care all these years, her condition is critical now. She has multiple organ failure and has been on the ventilator since she got hospitalised.
Bharathi is not the first one to get this diseaseThis disorder runs in their family. Seven years ago, Bharathi’s parents Mallaiah and Bhanamma lost their first daughter, Mounika, when she was just 5 years old. They couldn’t do anything to save her because doctors and hospitals were even more inaccessible 7 years ago. They finally know why their children fell sick and are not ready to lose another child. They named Bharathi’s younger sister after Mounika, in her memory. Luckily for them, Mounika who is 6 now, doesn’t have any health complications so far.
Her treatment is beyond the family's means
“Her liver is failing, her kidneys are failing and she can’t breathe without a ventilator. Sometimes when we look at her, we lose all hope. But the doctors are reassuring us that she can survive if she gets the necessary treatment right away. All we need to do it continue treatment.”
For a young girl of 15, who is full of dreams of the future, this condition is the worst punishment. For no fault of her own, she is bedridden and battling for her life. Although her family is fighting tooth and nail to get her treated, their financial condition does not let them afford the expensive treatment.
Bharathi's parents are trying their best to make sure their daughter lives
Bharathi’s parents work as daily wage labourers and together earn not more than Rs 8000 per month. Within this meagre income, they try to manage their household as well pay for Bharathi’s tests and medication. Mallaiah even sold off his land and taken loans to pay for Bharathi’s treatment. But all their reserves have now run dry and they don’t have any means to pay for her treatment anymore.