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How a kind Indian doctor saved a Pakistani teen's life

INDIAPOSITIVE

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Afsheen seen back after surgery in Mithi, Pakistan
IMAGE SOURCE,AFSHEEN GUL/INSTAGRAM
Image caption,
Afsheen's condition gained worldwide attention in 2017 after a news website article


Pakistani teenager Afsheen Gul suffered from a rare condition that kept her neck at 90 degrees. She struggled to access the right treatment until her case was brought to a doctor in India. BBC Urdu's Riaz Sohail reports on the teen's journey to getting life-saving treatment in Delhi.
What is a friend?
For most children, it's their classmates at school or neighbours they grew up with who became their friends. Sometimes, it's their favourite stuffed toy or perhaps even a pet.

But for 13-year-old Afsheen Gul from Pakistan's Sindh province, life had been a little different. The youngest of seven siblings, she never went to school or played with her friends.
That's because an accident - she fell from her sister's arm when she was just 10 months old - left her neck bent at 90 degrees. Her parents took her to the doctor who gave her some medicines and put a belt around her neck for support, but her condition only worsened.
"She could not walk, eat or talk. She used to just lie on the ground and we used to help her with everything," Afsheen's mother Jamilan Bibi recalls, adding that they could not afford further treatment.

Afsheen also suffers from cerebral palsy - she learned to walk when she was six, to speak when she was eight - which further pushed her behind other children her age.
For 12 years, Afsheen spent her life confined to her house in Mithi, nearly 300km (186 miles) from Karachi city, in this painful condition.
Afsheen seen with Dr Krishnan and her brother Yaqoob
IMAGE SOURCE,AFSHEEN GUL/INSTGRAM
Image caption,
Afsheen was successfully treated by Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan (left) in Delhi
However, her life changed in March when an Indian doctor successfully operated upon her curved neck. Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan, a specialist of complex spinal surgeries at the Apollo Hospital in Delhi, offered to do Afsheen's surgery free of charge.
Four months on, Afsheen can finally walk, talk and eat on her own. The wounds of her surgery have healed. Dr Krishnan checks on her via Skype every week.
"She is a little weak - and is still unable to go to school - but the doctor says that will get better with time," Afsheen's brother Yaqoob Kumbar says.
"We are so happy - the doctor saved my sister's life. For us he is an angel," Mr Kumbar says.

Afsheen suffers from atlanto-axial rotatory dislocation, a rotation of the spine which causes neck impairment. "This is probably the first case of its kind in the world," Dr Krishnan said.
Her condition gained worldwide attention in 2017, when an article on a news website spotlighted her story.
Prominent Pakistani actor Ahsan Khan shared a photo of Afsheen on Facebook, urging people to help, while Afsheen's mother was invited to a popular morning show hosted by Sanam Baloch. An online fundraiser was also created by an organiser in the US to help her family afford surgery.
Afsheen Gul seen with her neck rotate at 90 degrees
IMAGE SOURCE,AFSHEEN GUL/INSTAGRAM
Image caption,
Afsheen Gul suffered from a rare condition that causes neck impairment
In November 2017, Naz Baloch, an MP from the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), tweeted that the Sindh government would provide complete treatment to Afsheen.
She was hospitalised in Agha Khan University Hospital - Pakistan's biggest private hospital - in Karachi in February 2018, where specialists said they would operate on her, but gave her a "50% chance of survival", Mr Kumbar says.

Afsheen's parents asked the doctors for time to think over it and took her home. "But we got busy with my sister's wedding and her treatment could not be completed," her brother says.

Mr Kumbar adds that after the wedding, the family contacted government officials to resume Afsheen's treatment but were allegedly disappointed when they did not receive a positive response.
Ms Baloch, however, says she tried her best to arrange Afsheen's treatment, including getting in touch with NGOs abroad, and only withdrew when international NGOs stepped in to help the family.
Afsheen was back in the news in 2019 when a British journalist, Alexandria Thomas, reported on her condition and her family's financial position.

Ms Thomas also put the family in touch with Dr Krishnan in Delhi, who spoke to Mr Kumbar and told him that he was willing to help Afsheen.
The family applied for visa on medical grounds and arrived in India in November last year. An independent childcare organisation, Darul Sukoon, helped them with the process.
Afsheen Gul seen at the Delhi airport with her brother Yaqoob
IMAGE SOURCE,AFSHEEN GUL/INSTAGRAM
Image caption,
Afsheen arrived with her brother in Delhi last November
It was an extremely difficult time for Afsheen and her family, Mr Kumbar recalls: "Dr Krishnan told us that her heart or lungs may stop beating during the operation."
There were also financial troubles - Afsheen's family did not have the money to pay for her treatment. So they relied on the online fundraiser to meet the expenses.
But Dr Krishnan gave the family hope. Mr Kumbar says he had been in contact with several doctors during this period, but no one as "sensitive and kind " as him.
"Due to his efforts and supervision the operation was successful," he adds.

Afsheen underwent two major surgeries before the main neck surgery, which was followed by another major operation.
The main surgery took place in February. Dr Krishan told the BBC that he and his team attached Afsheen's skull to her spinal cord during a six-hour operation. The skull was then attached to the cervical spine using a stick and screws to keep the neck straight.
Afsheen and her brother on a video call with Dr Krishnan
IMAGE SOURCE,AFSHEEN GUL/INSTAGRAM
Image caption,
Dr Krishnan checks on Afsheen every week via Skype

After the surgery was successful, Dr Krishnan told reporters that Afsheen would not have lived for long without treatment.
But she is now "smiling and talking", Mr Kumbar said in July when he posted a picture of his smiling sister on Facebook a day before Eid.
There are some complications though - she's still slower than other children, many of whom often judge her for that, her brother says.
"But that will get better with time. For now, I am just happy my sister is alive and happy."


 

Faxapis

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Hail the Sanghi doctor who used his resources to save a Muslim life instead of saving a Hindu life.

Hail Modi the saviour of Muslims for granting medical visas to Muslims.

@Faxapis

@jamahir They love you. I know a beautiful daughter of a Brahman BJP leader. Please marry her.

I heard a rumor that the doctor was a Congress worker named Rahul ji.

Do you know him ?
 

Jackdaws

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Hail the Sanghi doctor who used his resources to save a Muslim life instead of saving a Hindu life.

Hail Modi the saviour of Muslims for granting medical visas to Muslims.

@Faxapis

@jamahir They love you. I know a beautiful daughter of a Brahman BJP leader. Please marry her.
Is this a joke? Don't mock a child and her health. We should be glad she is fine.
 

ulin elup

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I heard a rumor that the doctor was a Congress worker named Rahul ji.

Do you know him ?
Dr Rajagopalam Krishnan.

Krishnan's happen to be Mallu Brahman. They are supporters of the RSS in Kerala. Also eat beef like other Sanghi Mallus Keral

Is this a joke? Don't mock a child and her health. We should be glad she is fine.
No one is mocking her health.

Muslim are our enemies. I am not a Sanghi hypocrite.

You don't see Pakistani Muslim doctors treating Hindu children for free.
 

Faxapis

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Dr Rajagopalam Krishnan.

Krishnan's happen to be Mallu Brahman. They are supporters of the RSS in Kerala. Also eat beef like other Sanghi Mallus Keral

LOL. Mallu Brahmins do not eat beef. Nor do majority of Hindu mallus.

Only a very small minority of kerala hindus eat beef. Though a large part of them do support the RSS.

Did you ask congerss to protest this act of saving a pakistani life ?
 

defencenoob

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Dr Rajagopalam Krishnan.

Krishnan's happen to be Mallu Brahman. They are supporters of the RSS in Kerala. Also eat beef like other Sanghi Mallus Keral


No one is mocking her health.

Muslim are our enemies. I am not a Sanghi hypocrite.

You don't see Pakistani Muslim doctors treating Hindu children for free.

Ignorant people are the enemy, people who hate others just for their religion are the true enemy of India. Do you hate APJ Kalam too?
 

ulin elup

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Ignorant people are the enemy, people who hate others just for their religion are the true enemy of India. Do you hate APJ Kalam too?
The only reason Hindus voted the BJP to power because they thought it hated the Muslims.

Atleast I am not a rang badlu girgit like BJP leaders.
 

defencenoob

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The only reason Hindus voted the BJP to power because they thought it hated the Muslims.

Atleast I am not a rang badlu girgit like BJP leaders.
You are wrong! Most people hated the appeasement of Muslim politics. They hated the idea that they feel like second-class citizens in a country where they are majority. The mishandling of the Kashmir issue. Why most temples are under GOI when the Churches and Madarsa are not? Why there was empathy with the terrorists in some circles of power in Delhi. Problem with 50+ years of trying to prove to be extra secular and a visible secular created this tension. Even Manmohan said that the resources of the country belong to the minorities. There was a behaviour of being so apologetic to being a majority that you screw the majority.

So most people wanted a new govt which was not afraid to ask these hard questions, which balances and looks after the rights of the majority too.

Also, don't forget the right-wing throughout the world, in Muslim countries like Turkey.

No common Indians don't hate Muslims. They still have the same friends, same co-workers, and the same eid is celebrated together.

People were saying millions of Muslims will be killed if Modi comes to power, nothing like that happened in the last 7-8 years?

Even many Muslims in UP now support the hard-right Yogi government. I was talking to a Mulsim friend from UP and he is now a fan of Yogi.
He says the pretext of caring about minorities and then filling your own pockets by previous governments is over. He likes that there is no mixing of religion and politics, he likes that his Muslim-dominated neighbourhood is seeing improvement for the first time, with schools and cleanliness and law enforcement being just and same for Hindus and Muslims, reduction in crime and all good is happening. He said that many Muslim households got gas cylinders for the first time.

After some time people will realise most of the Left is using the only pretext of caring for Minorites, why in so many years of Congress at the centre and state, Muslim areas never improved in the economy, education and cleanliness. These areas were never modernised because they didn't want to upset the established order, for appeasement.

People hated the Muslims who are extremists they don't hate all Muslims, this is country with Khans as the most loved actors, Kalam as the most loved President and Scientist, and Rahman as the most loved Musician.
 

ulin elup

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You are wrong! Most people hated the appeasement of Muslim politics. They hated the idea that they feel like second-class citizens in a country where they are majority. The mishandling of the Kashmir issue. Why most temples are under GOI when the Churches and Madarsa are not? Why there was empathy with the terrorists in some circles of power in Delhi. Problem with 50+ years of trying to prove to be extra secular and a visible secular created this tension. Even Manmohan said that the resources of the country belong to the minorities. There was a behaviour of being so apologetic to being a majority that you screw the majority.

So most people wanted a new govt which was not afraid to ask these hard questions, which balances and looks after the rights of the majority too.

Also, don't forget the right-wing throughout the world, in Muslim countries like Turkey.

No common Indians don't hate Muslims. They still have the same friends, same co-workers, and the same eid is celebrated together.

People were saying millions of Muslims will be killed if Modi comes to power, nothing like that happened in the last 7-8 years?

Even many Muslims in UP now support the hard-right Yogi government. I was talking to a Mulsim friend from UP and he is now a fan of Yogi.
He says the pretext of caring about minorities and then filling your own pockets by previous governments is over. He likes that there is no mixing of religion and politics, he likes that his Muslim-dominated neighbourhood is seeing improvement for the first time, with schools and cleanliness and law enforcement being just and same for Hindus and Muslims, reduction in crime and all good is happening. He said that many Muslim households got gas cylinders for the first time.

After some time people will realise most of the Left is using the only pretext of caring for Minorites, why in so many years of Congress at the centre and state, Muslim areas never improved in the economy, education and cleanliness. These areas were never modernised because they didn't want to upset the established order, for appeasement.

People hated the Muslims who are extremists they don't hate all Muslims, this is country with Khans as the most loved actors, Kalam as the most loved President and Scientist, and Rahman as the most loved Musician.
Nice effort. But you can't change the reality.

Bhakts only vote for BJP as they think that the BJP will expel Muslims from India.

I am from Mumbai the most diverse cosmopolitan city in India. I personally know all types of Bhakts - Gujarati, Bhaiyya, South Indians etc etc.


They all think that the BJP will create a Hindu Rashtra and expel Muslims.
 

Paitoo

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Hail the Sanghi doctor who used his resources to save a Muslim life instead of saving a Hindu life.

Hail Modi the saviour of Muslims for granting medical visas to Muslims.

@Faxapis

@jamahir They love you. I know a beautiful daughter of a Brahman BJP leader. Please marry her.
You are new ID of @SuvarnaTeja . Same objective, new strategy. There is no doubt in my mind about it.
 

LakeHawk180

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LOL. Mallu Brahmins do not eat beef. Nor do majority of Hindu mallus.

Only a very small minority of kerala hindus eat beef. Though a large part of them do support the RSS.

Did you ask congerss to protest this act of saving a pakistani life ?
Please. Every single one I know eat beef. And I know a TON.

There was this odd dude I knew who would take off his janeu once he leaves for college and literally binges on beef and alcohol exclusively.
 

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