As India faced a complete lockdown till May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government lent a helping hand to two people -- one Indian and a Nepali national from Australia -- to get their advanced treatment in Delhi.
Fifteen-year-old Nitya Singh (name changed) from Punjab, who was diagnosed with very severe aplastic anemia, was granted special permission to reach a Delhi hospital for advanced treatment.
Similarly, Arjun Prasad Timilsina, a 31-year-old Nepali national, was airlifted from Australia by an Air India flight (AI-301) to Delhi to get the bone marrow transplant which is a lifesaving treatment.
According to Nitya's doctors, her condition started to deteriorate due to her medical condition and suggested a bone marrow transplant for her.
On the other hand, Timilsina was living in Australia. He was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia early this year. Timilsina underwent few cycles of chemotherapy in Australia, but the induction therapy failed twice following which he was given a high dose of chemotherapy.
Timilsina's family connected with doctors at the BLK Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi through e-mails and video conferencing. After going through his reports, medical experts suggested him a bone marrow transplant as the only treatment. In May, Timilsina decided to come to India for the treatment.
Dr Dharma Choudhary, Senior Director and HoD, Centre for Hemato-oncology and bone marrow transplant, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, and his team performed the bone marrow transplant on both the patients during the lockdown.
"Her (Nitya) parents took special permission from the state government authorities as the lockdown was prevailing in the entire country due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In the utmost emergency, we decided to take Nitya's mother as a donor. All the requisite tests were done and her mother was fit to be a donor for the half match allogeneic bone marrow transplant. The procedure performed on June 2," Dr Choudhary told ANI.
Nitya accepted the graft well and got discharged in the third week of June. Presently, the patient is well and is doing a regular follow-up with us, he said.
Dr Choudhary said that Timilsina contacted the Indian and Nepali embassies in Australia and the Union Health Ministry.
"His efforts worked and finally he was airlifted from Australia to India through Vande Bharat Mission flight along with his brother who was a complete match for the bone marrow transplant. After thorough investigations, he underwent successful allogeneic stem cell transplant from full match sibling donor (brother) on June 11. We kept him under close observation for several days and currently he is in good condition. He has been discharged," he added.
"Delay in these treatments could result in severe consequences. But thanks to the Punjab government, Ministry of Health, Indian and Nepali embassies who helped these patients reach the hospital on time to get the required treatment," Dr Choudhary further said. (ANI)