She couldn’t move her head since the day she was born. Her head weighed as much as the rest of her body. She didn’t suckle; she never even cried for food—she was lost in her own world, drifting towards what seemed like certain death. Anshu (name changed), now 18 months old, was born with a rare brain disease called hydranencephaly and hydrocephalus that caused fluid to accumulate in her brain. Born to poor tribal parents in Jharkhand who couldn’t afford state-of-the-art treatment, she was helpless until international and national donors pitched in and she was transported to New Delhi.
Battle for life
“We had begun to lose hope. Her mother used to cry day and night. Anshu’s recovery is everything that we could have asked for as she is our only child,” said the infant’s father.
In August 2015, when Anshu was all but of 10 months, doctors in New Delhi performed a surgery on her that had just a 5% rate of survival, but medical science along with the will to live prevailed. Taking recourse to high-technology treatment, they inserted hi-tech stents, ultra-thin plastic tubes, in her brain to drain away the fluid. Now, the size of her head has reduced to half. Food interests her now. Today, Anshu is alive and kicking, all thanks to human persistence coupled with technology.
“When Anshu came here from Mexico, she was highly underweight, the actual prognosis was dim. And that too she was so little. But we were very positive. We tried very hard. Technology helped us in a big way. Using Cloud and Big data, we dug deep into the existing data from such patients. We analyzed every bit of information that was available to arrive at the optimum course of action within a short period of time. Indeed, more than anything, the technology helped us devise her cure. It’s a joy to see her breathe now,” said the head doctor of the team that operated on the infant.
“It was a pleasure for us to be able to help out Anshu. We are glad that our device has allowed another beautiful life to flourish,” said Dhiren Singh, an official from Merlin Medical, which provided the stents at a discounted price.
Technology comes to aid
Big Data and analytics allow doctors to conduct high-speed analysis, run through millions of research papers and genetic sequencing data, go through numerous treatment records throughout the world, giving them deeper insights into how to treat a patient having a specific blood group, DNA sequence or characteristic. Based on the analysis doctors decide on the best course of action.
With new technology, doctors can benchmark patients against past occurrences, analyze how patients with specific genes respond to different treatments, and make decisions based on facts, not judgment.
Every day many precious lives are being saved.