Dubai, UAE: A delayed diagnosis of retinal damage is threatening to permanently shut the world out for two triplet brothers even as their family is running from pillar to post to get them treated. Drawing a blank so far, they are desperate for any help they can get to give the boys the gift of sight.
It all began when Salma, wife of Hameed, prematurely gave birth to triplets on January 22, 2011. A housewife with a three-year-old boy, she was only 30 weeks into her pregnancy when she delivered.
Her brother, Arshad Bangash, told XPRESS, “She was in the best of hands at a big hospital in Islamabad. The pre-term babies were just 1kg at birth but were coping well. They were given a clean chit in the medical report when they were discharged.”
However, two months later when the family took the infants for a check-up, he said, doctors at the same hospital informed them that the babies’ eyes were damaged. They were diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that generally begins during the first few days of life and can progress to blindness over a period of weeks. This happens because the eye rapidly develops during gestational weeks 28-40.
While one of the triplets Aftab’s eyes could be saved through laser treatment, the other two, Abdul Sami and Abdul Basir, were difficult to treat.
Dr Gurdeep Singh, Specialist Ophthalmologist at The City Hospital, said, “Usually the visual prognosis in such cases is very low.” He said the ROP should be detected early enough — between Stage 1 and Stage 2 — so that treatment can be given in Stage 3. “This effectively prevents the progression of the disease to Stage 4 or 5.”
As it turned out, the triplets were allegedly not screened for ROP in the first few days. “Tests so far have revealed that Sami and Basir can’t see. We will know for sure when they a little older,” said Bangash. He said his sister had visited several doctors in Dubai, but they have given her little hope. “Please, can someone tell us where we can get these boys treated?” he pleaded.
He said his sister and her husband, both residents of Dubai, had spent Dh62,500 for the delivery and stay of the three babies at hospital, a sum they had raised by selling jewellery and land.
“The boys need further treatment as they can’t stand properly either. The insurance card does not cover CT scans and therapies. The parents are borrowing money from friends to cover the costs. Please, they need both medical and financial help,” he said.
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© Gulf NewsJul 2012