Son of daily wage worker battles rare heart disease, looks for new hope in America

20th Nov 2017
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A surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital in the US might be the toddler’s last ray of hope.

At the tender age of three months, Priyanshu was diagnosed with pneumonia. His condition further led to the diagnosis of a complex Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) wherein the pure and impure blood get mixed, causing serious damage to the lungs.

Sagar Mehsram, Priyanshu’s father has been working tirelessly since then to pay for his son’s treatment. A daily wage painter by profession, Sagar has approached almost all the top hospitals in the country seeking treatment for Priyanshu’s uncommon disease.

After consulting many hospitals, the team of doctors at Fortis Escorts, Delhi agreed to aid Priyanshu’s situation by conducting a set of three surgeries which could extend his life. The first one cost us approximately 1.5 lakhs and was funded by the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister’s Fund. However, since my son’s condition deteriorated further, they called off the remaining two surgeries, explains Sagar dejectedly.

Post that, all the premier medical institutions gave up on treating little Priyanshu.

The toddler’s rare heart disease is made complex by a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). “Priyanshu frequently falls ill and that doesn’t allow me to take up a stable job which promises regular pay,” Sagar says, adding that it was out of dire necessity that he took to acquiring internet and social media skills.

I did not know anything about Google or WhatsApp. People suggested I could reach out to people through the internet and that’s when I learnt how to send e-mails, says Sagar, who got the Boston Children’s Hospital in the US to revert on Priyanshu’s condition.

“After studying the reports I e-mailed to them, they have agreed to perform the surgery,” he says. This surgery is estimated at the cost of Rs 65 lakh.

The relentless efforts of Sagar to fight his son’s illness motivated Gaurav Malhotra, a businessman who has earlier helped many cancer patients in need. “Sagar earns a meagre 200-250 rupees per day and cannot afford the frequent medical care that Priyanshu requires. That’s why I decided to help,” says Gaurav who started a crowdsourcing effort to raise money for Priyanshu’s planned surgery in Boston.

“Though we have raised a little over 20 lakh through crowdsourcing, it’s not enough to save Priyanshu. Sagar needs to also arrange for travel and accommodation as well,” adds Gaurav, who has also sent an open letter to all Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly from Madhya Pradesh, seeking monetary help.

I have not heard any positive response so far but I’m hopeful since I have also written to the US Embassy, PMO’s office and to the Health Minister of India, says Gaurav.

Celebrities like Abhishek Bacchan, Vijendra Singh and Rahul Dev are among many others who took to Twitter to campaign for Priyanshu’s cause.

“I’m not fighting for my son’s life alone. If I’m successful in getting Priyanshu treated in Boston, I’m hoping such treatment will be made available in India in the future. That can benefit many others struggling like me and hence I don’t want to give up on this effort,” concludes Sagar, who continues to be hopeful that Priyanshu will get a new lease of life soon.

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