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The Story of Rindhya - A Survivor

On the 2nd of May 2003 Radhika and Ravi welcomed their second child into this world in their hometown of Palakkad district situated in Kerala. The newborn girl was named Rindhya.

Radhika had a normal delivery, and was relieved that it all seemed to have gone well. Rindhya’s elder brother Rahul was excited that he now had a little sister to play with and look after, an addition to the family.

Two weeks after birth, her parents got alarmed, as Rindhya’s breathing didn’t appear to be normal. They rushed her to a government hospital, the one where she was delivered. The doctors overlooked the family’s concerns and pinned it down as a normal occurrence sometimes for babies that young. They were told that if these symptoms persisted, they could return after a month. In the interim, Rindhya developed a high fever and returned to the hospital in no time where they gave the family the reference of a private nursing home where an echo was conducted. The test results concluded that the good news only a month ago had turned into their worst nightmare, their baby girl was suffering from a life-threatening heart disorder. She had a hole in the heart and the complexities that were present didn’t guarantee that the girl could survive.

Now how are parents supposed to digest such news? Their levels of knowledge on heart disorder and the steps that should be taken in this instance were limited. Their resources and finances were constrained. They returned back home – at a complete loss on how they can get Rindhya the medical help she urgently required. Ravi drives an auto rickshaw for a living, there were natural stresses on finances that began to play on the family’s mind as they didn’t know how they could afford the treatment their daughter needed.

Time passed, the family did not act on getting any surgery done nor did they take any more medical advice. Rindhya continued to grow and take on life as and when hardships like recurring coughs and cold persisted. At the age of four, her parents put her into school called RGM and that’s when more signs of her ailment began to come to light. Her breathing became a problem, participating in any sports, having the freedom and health of running like kids do was not something she had. She couldn’t be a normal child – one that runs freely with no major complaint. So she just excused herself from sports and focused on studying.

A few years later, when she joined the 5th standard, she fainted in school and became blue. Radhika and Ravi rushed to school only to find their daughter sprawled on the ground. Rindhya finally regained consciousness in the comforts of their own home, and at this point her parents decided to venture out once again, out of their hometown in search of some answers. They took her to a hospital in Coimbatore, where they were not greeted with good news – again. The little hope that they did have was deflated as they were told that nothing could be done, and days for their daughters were just numbered.

Emotionally distraught, they returned home and decided once again to resume their day-to-day activities and keep Rindhya in school for as long as she was able to attend. As she started 6th standard, she switched schools to CSI Senior Secondary.

In 2014, Rindhya’s uncle decided to take the family to Miot Hospital, where once again an echo was conducted. The exact type of disease was explained to both parents, and they were counseled on their options. They admitted Rindhya into the hospital, where further an Angiography was done. The test results all pointed to the same – surgery was her only option and the success rate was between 80-85%. The doctors told Radhika and Ravi to return in six months for the surgery.

An answer – a solution, an optimistic way out of her suffering, finally.

But how were they to afford this surgery?

This is a question that often entered their minds, as they weren’t aware of whom or which organization could help them, if there were any.

Unfortunately – they could not return after six months so the surgery did not take place at the time suggested by the doctors.

Once again, in August 2015 the family returned to Miot Hospital, this time the situation was much more critical than the previous times. Rindhya’s saturation was falling, and upon examination the parents were clearly told that there was no option – she had to be operated on immediately.

Radhika and Ravi, had to make a decision this time and time was of the essence. But they had so much to deliberate, all at the cost of their daughter’s life. One can understand so compassionately all the confusion and stress that must have consumed their mind. Ravi earned Rs 6000 per month, and Radhika worked in an Anganwadi and earned Rs 4000 per month. They had their son, and day-to-day expenses, which were a struggle – how were they supposed to arrange 3 lakhs for surgery? It was well beyond their means.

The light at the end of the tunnel was not far – as Dr Robert Coelho, Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Miot Hospital got in touch with us at Genesis Foundation, for support. Undoubtedly, this case matched the criteria of children and families we work with and we took on the case immediately. She was finally operated on 24th August 2015. The surgical procedure is called a Double Switch. After two weeks she was discharged in stable condition. The after surgery care had her on medication for up to six months, after which she has been on long-term follow up but no medications.

Recently, a few members from our GF team visited Rindhya and her family. It really touched our hearts and gave us such joy to know that she has been doing well and she will soon be going to 9th standard. School is something she has always managed to keep up with which is admirable. More so she loves playing Badminton and is now even learning the art of Karate. That girl who struggled to play any sport is now undefeated by the disease that once prohibited her.

Every step of the way, our mission to Save Little Hearts is most fulfilled when stories like Rindhya turn into something so beautiful. With the help of our supporters, we have been able to give children like Rindhya a chance to live. No life should be lost because a lack of funds, at no turn should one say we lost someone because there was no money. These families work hard, and earn what they can. If we can take away their pain and the financial burden they are presented with and give their little ones hope to live we have accomplished something that makes this life one filled with hope and compassion.