Nineteen-year-old Isha Khan, a school teacher, never thought that her being able to see and count fingers, shown to her from the distance of three metres, would have her family members celebrating and crying for joy.
Friday morning dawned with the promise of a new hope for this young acid attack victim, when doctors at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here assured Isha that her left eye badly injured in the attack will be saved– though the vision may not be completely restored.
Isha and her three sisters were attacked with acid by two men on motorcycle in Uttar Pradesh early this month. The four sisters were on their way home from a school where they were employed for invigilation duty when the attack took place.
Isha sustained the most grievous injures in the attack. After first aid at a local hospital she was rushed to Delhi’s private hospital in a critical condition. She had sustained injuries (burns) on her face, neck and chest. The worst affected was her left eye.
“Isha has been under constant medical monitoring and treatment since she has been admitted to the hospital. She was brought in with severe chemical injury with epithelial loss and over 180 degrees lymbal ischaemia (no blood supply in the eye because of chemical injury which manifests as whiteness around the cornea). Also her wounds on the rest of the body was accessed,’’ said Dr. A.K. Grover, specialist in Ophthalmology at the hospital.
“For Isha’s eyes we performed a unique procedure called Amniotic membrane transplantation which fortunately has helped to bring back a substantial part of her eyesight. In this procedure an amniotic membrane was obtained from one of the prospective donors undergoing caesarean section who did not have any communicable diseases. After cleaning this membrane with balanced salt solution containing a mix of antibiotics, the membrane was implanted in the victim’s eye,’’ said Dr. Grover. Now Isha’s eye is healing up well and instead of being able to see only hand movement close to her eyes she is now able to count fingers from a distance of three meters. She will be discharged on Friday.
“We are very encouraged with the results. Though she has been told that a perfect vision may not be possibly restored in the left eye, it will be largely functional,’’ added Dr. Grover.
He also noted that Isha may not even require skin grafting and that her skin was healing well.
Though healing and recovering well after the attack Isha confides that “time had stood still for her ever since the attack.’’
“I just remember intense heat and pain. I think I fell down and lost consciousness after the attack. Today, has been a good day with the doctors telling me that my eye sight is getting better and assuring me that my skin will also heal soon. But I am sceptical about the quality of life that awaits me,’’ she says.
Speaking about the incident another Isha’s sister (who was not with them when the attack took place and did not want to be named said): “We are nine sisters and Isha is a young girl, this attack has certainly changed things for her. She will never be the same person again. The attack has left the family emotionally, mentally and physically scarred for life. It is tough enough for us without a father and now this.’’
The family members claim that while they are happy with the progress that Isha has made, they want to be sure that two men involved in the crime are arrested and punished.