R. Karthikeyan bears excruciating pain physiotherapy with a smile on his face. For, after 17 years of being bed-ridden and helped with his movements by his father, he wants to walk and be normal like any other 30-year-old.

He has been learning to walk again, thanks to four surgeries performed by orthopaedic surgeon V. Singaravadivelu and his team at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (GH).

Afflicted by fever when he was 11 years old, he slowly lost the capacity to walk and move his limbs after his joints fused due to arthritis. “I can now walk with support and hopefully, in some months, I can lead a normal life,” said the native of Udayarpalayam in Ariyalur, who was guided to GH by an orthopaedic surgeon at Ariyalur.

Dean of RGGGH V. Kanagasabai said the first set of surgeries was performed in December at a cost of Rs. 2.30 lakh, with funds from the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. “The joints in his right hip and knee were replaced with the funds,” Dr. Kanagasabai said.

Surgeries on the other side were performed with financial assistance from Ungalukkaga Trust’s founder Suneel. Smith and Nephew Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., agreed to provide the joints at lesser cost, said Dr. Singaravadivelu, adding in the next stage, the elbows and wrists would be operated upon.

“The fingers will be operated upon last by the plastic surgeon. We want him to walk without the aid of his hands,” he explained.

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