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A mother's selfless act

G. Venkataramana Rao
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Sacrifice:Saranya with her mother at Vijaya Orthopaedic and Accident Care Hospital in Vijayawada on Thursday.--Photo: Raju V.
Sacrifice:Saranya with her mother at Vijaya Orthopaedic and Accident Care Hospital in Vijayawada on Thursday.--Photo: Raju V.

Mothers are ready to make any kind of sacrifice to ensure that their children grow up healthy. Many suffer malnutrition so that the children have enough to eat. A woman in the city did more than that and she gave up a few centimetres of her calf bone (fibula) so that her eight-year-old daughter, who developed a tumour on her thigh bone (femur), can walk without a limp.

She had to do this because there is not a single bone bank in Andhra Pradesh. Chief orthopaedic surgeon of Vijay Orthopaedic and Accident Care Hospital, Vijay Kumar, said that his patient, Saranya, suffered from the rare bone disease called ‘Enchondroma', a type of benign bone tumour.

Surgery put off

She was diagnosed with the disease eight months ago, but the parents postponed the surgery. Just a few days ago the child fell while playing and the bone got fractured near the tumour making an operation necessary, Dr. Kumar said.

Dr. Vijaya Kumar, along with a Bangalore-based orthopaedic oncologist, Ch. Srinivas, performed an operation which took over five hours. A piece of bone was taken from the mother's calf bone and grafted on to the child's thigh bone. There is no need for blood or tissue matching for a bone graft.

In adults the required bone was harvested from the patient itself, but in children the bone available was not enough. The bone graft had to be taken from the mother because there was no bone bank in Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Enough fibula

Saranya's mother has to live without the piece of the calf bone, but the doctor said that it would not be a problem because the tibia (shinbone) was sufficient for her to walk and “enough fibula” had been left for the ankle to function.

Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network (MOHAN) Foundation Andhra Pradesh Convenor K. Raghuram, when contacted, said that there was no bone bank in South India. The best place for bone grafts was the Tissue Bank of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. There was another tissue bank in Delhi also. A tissue bank to be established by the AP Government is under construction at Hyderabad, he said.

Donates a few centimetres of her calf bone to her daughter so that she could walk without a limp


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