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Sunday, 13 July 2008 00:00

Spinal Operation Brings New Hope to Two Sri Lankan Girls

Written by  Written and photograph by Lee Szee Lei, Melaka / Translated by Chiang Sook Chen

Madushi(first from the left) and her mother, Shanti (second from the left) prayed together with the volunteers before the operation.

Mithushi and Madushi, aged 9 and 15 respectively, are both Scoliosis patients from Sri Lanka. Accompanied by their respective mothers, they came to Malaysia to seek treatment. Madushi has successful undergone an 8-hour spinal surgery on July 13.

Accompanied by their mothers, Mithushi and Madushi Nisansala, aged 9 and 15 respectively, came to Malaysia from Sri Lanka on July 10, 2008 to undergo treatment for Scoliosis. Due to their language problem, Dimuthu, Tzu Chi's Sri Lankan staff, accompanied the mothers and their daughters as their interpreter, as well as look after them throughout their stay in Malaysia.
 
Scoliosis is a common disease in Sri Lanka. The patient will suffer from deformation of body shape, constant back aching or even suppression of the internal organs by the twisted spine. In more complicated cases, the bending spine will even twist and cause the spine to leave the central position of the body. Both Mithushi and Madushi's condition has reached the stage where their backs are badly hunched.

Mithushi and Madushi would require two months for treatment and full recovery. As such, Tzu Chi has provided medical aid and its volunteers will also render full time companionship to the two families during their stay in this country. After making a study of these two cases, the medical team at Mahkota Medical Centre, Melaka, operated on Madushi first, and Mithushi two weeks later. While waiting for her turn, Mithushi has come to the kindergarten in Tzu Chi Melaka to volunteer.

I wish to be a normal person

"When the specialist in Sri Lanka told me that the operation would require a large medical fee, I was in grief as I have three other children to bring up and my husband is only a laborer," said a teary P.M. Shanthi, mother of Madushi, as she talked through an interpreter about the helplessness.

In Sri Lanka, there are many Scoliosis patients, but there is only one specialist to conduct the operation. He has a waiting list of about 5,000 patients, and with the scarcity of medical equipment, each treatment would require two weeks to complete. As her deformed body worsened, Madushi's worry intensified. Also, being conscious of the curious looks her deformity had attracted, she refused to attend school.

Madushi and her family saw hope when informed that Tzu Chi would be sponsoring her medical fee. Madushi bravely agreed to have the surgery done on July 13 after hearing the explanation by Dr. Thirukumaran about the details of the surgery, including the risk and possible complications.

Madushi said hopefully, "After the surgery, I shall be able to lead a normal life like a normal person."
 
The relay of love goes on

As Madushi was being pushed into the operating theatre, both Madushi and her mother shed tears, while volunteers held their hands and gave them encouragement in Singhalese. Madushi was touched and she nodded smilingly to the volunteers.
 
The 8-hour operation has successfully corrected the position of the spine using screws and bars; and there is now more space for the lungs too. When Shanti knew that the operation was successful, she knelt down to pay respect in front of Dharma Master Cheng Yen's portrait that was placed in the hostel they are staying in, to express her gratitude.

Madushi suffered from great pain after the operation but could not express herself as she only speaks Singhalese. Aware of her problem, Tzu Chi volunteers returned to the hospital that night with a list of commonly used words in both Singhalese and English, so that Madushi could point at the words to convey her needs to the nurses.

Shanti said, "I am most grateful for the help of Tzu Chi volunteers and Dharma Master Cheng Yen. After my daughter has recovered, I will join Tzu Chi's charity work back home."

With her spine adjusted to the proper position, Madushi was given a new lease of life from now on. Let us wish Mudishi, a speedy recovery and Mithusi, a successful operation. Great love will redeem the defects in life.

 

Madushi( right) and Mithusi, wishing each other.   The anxious Madushi and Shanti cried several times after listening to the explanation given by the doctor on the pending operation.

Madushi( right) and Mithusi, wishing each other.
 
 
The anxious Madushi and Shanti cried several times after listening to the explanation given by the doctor on the pending operation.
 
The scan shows that Madushi's spine is badly deformed and is affecting the functioning of her lungs.   The operation was conducted by a 5-member medical team, including an Orthopaedist, a Neurologist and an Anaesthetist.

The scan shows that Madushi's spine is badly deformed and is affecting the functioning of her lungs.
 
The operation was conducted by a 5-member medical team, including an Orthopaedist, a Neurologist and an Anaesthetist.
 
Madushi recovering in the intensive care unit and is expected to be transferred to the common ward two days later.   Shanti bowing to the portrait of Dharma Master Cheng Yen to express her gratitude

Madushi recovering in the intensive care unit and is expected to be transferred to the common ward two days later.
 
Shanti bowing to the portrait of Dharma Master Cheng Yen to express her gratitude.
 
Mithusi volunteering at the kindergarten while waiting for her turn to have the operation.    

Mithusi volunteering at the kindergarten while waiting for her turn to have the operation.
 
 

 

 

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