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His lips turning blue, 15-month-old Abhinandan waits for heart surgery outside AIIMS


Press Trust of India New Delhi
His 15-month-old son's lips are turning blue as are his hands but the open heart surgery for which they travelled all the way from Bihar doesn't look like it is happening anytime soon, and Sanjeev Kumar Sharma is getting desperate.
One of the many families awaiting treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Sharma said he travelled 1,100 kilometres from Samastipur for his son Abhinandan's treatment.
But the lockdown has quelled any hope that the child will get well soon, said Sharma, among the hundreds of people from various parts of the country waiting it out on the streets outside the premier hospital.
He named his son Abhinandan after the Air Force officer who downed an enemy jet and was in Pakistan's custody for three days last year. Sharma said he is hoping his son will triumph over adversity, just as his namesake did last February.
"My son's name was Raunak Sharma but he was very sick during his early days. We thought there was something wrong with his name. So, in February last year, we changed his name to Abhinandan," the 27-year-old, who is housed in a tent on the sidewalk outside the complex, told PTI.
Doctors have said the surgery would be conducted after the lockdown but nobody knows when it will be lifted.
With the focus on COVID-19, many other patients and families like the Sharmas are stranded.
It has been a very long journey, said the young father, who worked in a private company, and is running out of both hope and money with not even enough to buy milk and Cerelac for the baby.
"First, we went to Raipur in Chhattisgarh on February 8. From there, we reached here on February 14. My son Abhinandan Sharma has an issue in his heart and an open heart surgery had to be done, but we are stuck here due to the lockdown," Sharma said.
Abhinandan's hands and lips are turning blue, he said.
"There was a CT scan on March 24. After the report, we were told the date of operation would be finalised.
That very evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that a nationwide lockdown will be enforced from midnight.
The doctors said they will conduct the operation after the lockdown ends. Who knows when that will happen," Sharma said.
I am getting no money since the lockdown. We had only Rs 5,000 when we left Bihar. I came here, along with my wife and son. We thought this amount would be enough for us to spend around one month in the national capital, he said.
"Now, we have run out of money. We don't have money to go back to our place. We don't even have money for milk and Cerelac for Abhinandan," Sharma said.
The family is sharing its tent with about a dozen other people.
"We have been staying in the tent since the day we came here. The condition inside the tent is not good as it is getting hotter. In the day, there are flies. And in the evening, the mosquitoes. The quality of food we get is also not good," he said.

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First Published: Apr 26 2020 | 6:26 PM IST

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