By Taniya Dutta
An Indian couple is desperately waiting for a miracle to happen to save their adopted son, whose stomach has bloated to the size of two footballs.
Shahanur Alam, seven, is painfully skinny with just bones visible in his body but his stomach has protruded so big that he is left immobile.
Alam suffers from Bilateral Pleural Effusion, an inflammatory condition in which a large amount of fluid has built up between his lungs and chest cavity.
This means the boy cannot walk because of the weight of the huge mass and throws up food every time resulting in his severe weakness.
“He is in extreme pain. He cannot even take steps because of the weight of his stomach.
“He does not eat full meals. We forcefully feed him rice but he throws up every time. Look at him, he is just bones and no flesh.
“His stomach is growing bigger and bigger and we fear if he does not get any help, we will lose him soon,” said his devastated mother Shamela Begum.
Shamela and her husband Salim-ud-Din from Barpeta in Assam in northeast India had adopted Alam when he was just seven-months-old.
The couple, who also has a biological daughter and makes ends meet from pulling carts, said their son was a healthy baby and they were very happy to have him.
But things changed two years ago when Alam complained his parents of pain in his abdomen.
While at first they brushed it off as minor infection and gave him painkillers, the couple soon realised their son had a bigger problem as his stomach started growing abnormally.
Salim-ud-Din said: “One night after having dinner when we were about to sleep, all of a sudden he started vomiting and after that he dozed off. But after sometime he again woke up and started bleeding.
“We immediately took him to the nearest hospital .There doctors prescribed him two bottles of blood and saline water but after receiving the saline water his stomach started bloating.”
The doctors referred the child to other hospitals but none of the local doctors could diagnose his condition.
Salim-ud-Din said: “We took him to doctors but they failed to diagnose his condition and sent us home back with medicines that reduced the pain but not the swelling.”.
As time went by Alam’s condition kept deteriorating. He stopped going to school as walking was painful and lost weight because of undernourishment.
The desperate parents sold off all their belongings and took him to an advanced hospital in another state for diagnosis.
There, doctors conducted sonography and tests and found Alam had a large amount of fluid in abdomen and sludge in gall bladder that had thickened the wall.
They told Salim and his wife that the only way possible to save their son would be an operation but that would cost £2400, a whopping amount for the couple.
“We had no money for the operation so we brought him back home. We have already exhausted all our savings and spend £20-30 a month on his medicines,” said Shamela.
The poverty-stricken parents are now urging government to come forward and save the life of their only son.
“The time is ticking away. We understand we can lose him anytime if he does not get operated on soon. We have no money but we are hoping that government and people will extend their help to save our child,” Salim said with joined hands.