By Taniya Dutta
An Indian boy with a trunk-like nose is desperately waiting for a life-saving surgery while people are revering him as the reincarnation of a Hindu God.
Ganesh, named after Elephant God, was found roaming aimlessly by local police on a deserted road in a remote village in northeast India.
The nine-year-old had a defected, trunk-like nose dangling down his face and crying incessantly.
But he could not tell his identity or address when probed by cops as he is speech impaired.
After cops found Ganesh is an orphan, they handed him over to child welfare committee in Assam.
A local NGO Bakakhat Nirman Gut then came in for help and took Ganesh’s custody.
“He is the most special child in our NGO. I have never seen a child like him before.
“He could not talk. Because of the weight of his nose, he could not eat food by himself either. He was in an extremely painful situation. Our volunteers fed him and looked after him,” said Jiten Gogoi, the president of the NGO.
With government’s help, the boy was admitted to a state-run hospital and was then transferred to Bangalore for advanced treatment.
For last one week, Ganesh has been under observation of a team of six doctors at Narayana Multi-speciality Hospital.
Dr Shibu Pillai, senior consultant neurosurgeon, who is looking into Ganesh’s case called his condition a rare congenital defect.
“The boy is suffering from Frontonasal Encephalocele, a condition in which a part of skull is not developed. In his case, because of the defect, a part of brain has bulged out of skull and created a large lump on his forehead,” Dr Pillai said.
Frontonasal Encephalocele are a form of neural tube defect where brain tissue and overlying meninges herniate out through a defect in the cranium and patients have swelling over the bridge of nose or inner canthus of eye since birth, with varying degrees of hypertelorism.
The doctor said while the case is not uncommon, what makes Ganesh’s condition so rare is that he was left untreated for a long time.
The doctors are now hoping to conduct a reconstructive surgery and to subside the swelling on Ganesh on Tuesday, June 13th.
“Our first priority is to operate on him to reduce the swelling and reconstruct his nose. While the surgery would be complex and might last as long as six hours, we are confident that it would be successful,” added Dr Pillai.
But doctors believe Ganesh would need a couple of surgeries before he can lead a normal life.
Dr Pillai said: “Because of the condition, his brain has developed slower than other children his age. His speech is impaired and he is mentally underdeveloped. But with treatment and medicines, we are hoping to improve his condition.”
Once the surgery is conducted and Ganesh is sent back to the NGO, Gogoi says they will put him up for adoption.
“People are looking at him as God’s blessings. They were worshiping him when he was here. They adore him. We are hopeful that once he is back after the surgery, he will get a loving home to stay forever,” says Gogoi.