“Pawana, wake up, can you hear me? Let’s go home,” Shubamma keeps repeating these words as tears flow down her cheeks, while her 18-year-old son lies still in the bed of the ICU, unresponsive. The doctor treating him says the maximum conscious level in Pawan body has been to move his limbs and open his eyes when someone calls or taps him. However, today, he did not open his eyes. As his mother kept calling him only tears rolled down his cheeks.
Where healthcare is not accessible, people seek skin branding to treat jaundice
Pawan was brought to the People Tree Hospital on the evening of 26th May, with an extremely bloated body, vomiting, severe infection, and an extreme case of jaundice. It all started with a fever, which was being treated at home. They come from a small village in Rayacherlu, where Jaundice is treated by branding the skin with an iron rod in the patient’s leg, which is supposed to have a potent effect. However, it did not work for Pawan.
At 18, he suffers cardiac arrest, brain damage and kidney failure
Within 24 hours of admitting him in People Tree hospital, he had a cardiac arrest, which subsequently caused brain damage. His muscles have broken down releasing toxins into his blood. As a result, he has kidney failure. Pawan has been in this state for over a week and still needs intensive care for another 4-5 weeks to recover. This may ultimately cost his family Rs. 6 lakhs in addition to the same amount they have paid for the week's care.
They lost their land, bike and now they'll lose their home
Pawan’s father Pedanna is a daily laborer, earning up to Rs. 6,000 every month, and he shifted his base over 8 months ago to Bengaluru for better work opportunities.
“I came to work in Bengaluru for a better life. How is this better? I am not able to save my son,” says Pedanna, his hands folded in prayer and a heavy voice.
Ever since Pawan has been detected with jaundice till date, Pedanna has already spent 6 lakhs, by selling his a half acre of land and an old motorcycle, but now he plans to put his house on a mortgage to save his only son.
"I cannot repay this loan. So I know we will lose the house and be in debt.” says the father.
Pawan studies in 2nd PUC, a sincere student according to his mother.
He needs prolonged rehabilitation to recover
“He barely used to leave the house, or watch TV. He was just interested in studies and helped me a lot in household chores. And the best thing was he had a lot of respect for both young and old, but now, he probably doesn’t even recognize us, says Shubhamma.
Pawan requires intensive care for many more weeks to come, which includes treating the ulcers in his face, his high blood pressure, proper functioning of his heart and lungs, physiotherapy for his loose muscles, dialysis, and gradual recovery of his brain. At the age of 18, Pawan already suffered one cardiac arrest, and the doctors fear, his weak heart will fail if he suffers another attack.
As they stood by the bedside murmuring, they were praying that their child speaks to them again, without the tubes around his body.
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