Tuesday, August 23, 2011


MI belonged to a lower middle class family in our nearby village of Satbarwa which was our local market. MI used to work in Mumbai. He was unmarried. And he had returned home about a month back.

MI was brought to NJH is this state on the 10th of July, 2011. The story was that he was making tea when the stove burst and he suffered burns on his upper part of the body. It was very obvious from the burns that the story was not really true – but MI and his relatives held on to their story. MI was in danger of having suffered inhalational injury. We gave a very guarded prognosis and offered to help him get shifted to Ranchi for expert treatment – which the relatives were not very keen.

In addition, there was a possibility of severe edema resulting in closure of the oral cavity and the airways at a later stage. There was very high risk of infection. However, MI and his family members consisting of his parents and 3 doting sisters – were very determined to help MI recover.

The recovery has been very painful and long. It was very helpful that the family, especially his 3 sisters have helped him to cling on to his life so far. With a burns percentage of 50%, it is amazing that he has made quite lot of ground.

However, over the 6 weeks that he had been with us in hospital, Dr Nandamani and the nursing staff has made quite an impact on the young man that the real story of his burns has come out. MI had a quite violent past. He had been an alleged drug addict for some time. Few weeks back MI’s mother had presented him with a cell phone which was worth about 5000 rupees. For the family, in the rural Indian male centric world, MI was the epitome of all their aspirations and dreams.

Unfortunately, MI was quite spoilt – indulging in all sorts of vices and in addition, allegedly falling prey to alcohol and drugs. MI sold the 5000 rupee mobile which his mother had gifted him for a paltry sum of Rs 500 to fuel his drug habit. His mother came to know about it in no time. There was a huge argument in the house following which MI poured kerosene over his head and set himself on fire. That explained for the deep burns on the back of his body.

MI has since repented and he wants to get back to his normal life. He has been going through a very painful experience which has broken him down. In addition to the pain, the treatment has been quite expensive. The family must have spent about 50,000 rupees so far in his treatment. They still have outstanding bills of about Rs 40,000. He already had two sittings of skin graftings.

MI is quite miserable about the life which he has wasted so far. I’ve assured him of putting out his story to people who could remember him in prayers as well as help him pay at least a part of his outstanding bills.

[This story was put in the blog after taking consent from MI and his family including putting photographs. There are quite a number of patients who come to us with burns for whom we have to write off quite large amounts, which puts quite a lot of financial strain on the unit. Other stories are that of VM (http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/2011/07/pediatric-burns.html) as well as that of PD (http://jeevankuruvilla.blogspot.com/2011/07/neglected-burns.html ). We plan to start a fund to help our burns patients with regular treatment and if needed additional support to restart and rebuild their lives.]

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