Because of an extremely rare disease, 3-year-old Reshmi’s head has doubled its size after a fluid buildup in her brain.
Reshmi Marak lives in a poor village in Tripura, north eastern India and she is in dire need of medical assistance. Her family, however, is in no place to afford the costly surgery.
The disease is called hydrocephalus. As the fluid builds up, so does the head which puts an added pressure to the brain which in turn leads to brain damage and in some cases, death. To learn more about hydrocephalus, click here.
Reshmi’s head has grown into a circumference of 68cms, yet she is still able to balance herself up and speak properly. To treat her, a thin tube called a shunt needs to be surgically implanted into the brain to drain away all of the excess fluid.
Her parents, Maria and Amrit, feel hopeless. Amrit is a laborer who barely has enough to scratch by with regular life, let alone for travel and medical bills. When Reshmi was born, everything appeared normal, but after one month, the swelling began, a swelling that didn’t stop until it’s now bulbous size.
Because the family can’t tend to her medically, they keep Reshmi at home and try to make her life as comfortable as they can. The entire situation has made them hesitant to have any other children.
All of this is happening in the wake of a similar case in India where a six-year-old died with the same disease. The news made headlines all over the world.
Other ways of treatment involve endoscopic third ventriculostomy surgery, where a surgeon uses a video camera to see directly inside of the brain and then proceeds to cut a hole in the bottom of one of the ventricles to help move the fluid. Developmental therapists, social workers, and special education teachers can also aid with these complications.
Dr Anil Kumar, head of neurosurgery, at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, in Ranchi, Jharkhand, said in an interview with the Daily Mail,
“If the child is able to balance, and talk, her condition could be improving, however, over a period of time if left untreated and undiagnosed, it could lead to certain mental deformities such as slow learning, low IQ level etc. She needs medical assistance at the earliest.’