Life

By Taniya Dutta


A four-year-old girl who suffered severe head and spine injuries after a drunk man fell on her from the third floor of a building is back home, smiling.

Dhanyashri Chandrashekhar was walking with her grandfather to a grocery store on the ground floor of a building at Sanjivirayan Koil Street in Chennai in southern India on January 28.

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As the little girl was about to enter the store around 9pm Shiva, 24, landed on her from the third floor of his flat. He had fallen through a gap in the grille of his balcony.

While Shiva, a tailor, escaped with minor injuries and a fractured leg, little Dhanyashree collapsed and lost consciousness immediately.

For 23 days, the little girl battled for life at city’s Apollo Children’s Hospital where she was kept in paediatric intensive care unit.

She was brought in hospital in a coma and her brain had swelled up.

To save her life, she was operated on by a team of doctors for three hours in which an 8cm hole was drilled in her head and a portion of her skull was taken out.

Senior consultant Dr Suchitra Ranjit said: “Dhanyashri was brought in a deep coma. The team placed a delicate pressure-monitor within her brain. On the third day, her brain had started swelling.

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“With no space to expand above, the brain was swelling into her brain stem which controls basic body functions such as breathing and swallowing. We had to drill a hole in her skull measuring 8cm in diameter.

“Once the swelling goes down, we will insert the bone back.”

The bone will be preserved in the hospital’s bone bank at –21 degrees centigrade.

For next two months, a thin flap of skin will protect a portion of her brain as she would recuperate from a surgery.Until then, Dhanyashri will have to wear a cap.

The government, NGOs and members of the public helped fund Dhanyashri’s surgery, which cost around Rs 7 lakh.

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Dhanyashree’s father Sridharan Chandrashekhar, 35, who works as a water can distributor said he couldn’t believe when he saw her smiling.

Sridharan said: “We thought she would lose her memory. She was very happy to meet her grandfather and excited to go for grocery shopping with him. But minutes later we got the call. We were shocked and could not believe what happened to her.

“We did not have the money to fund her treatment but we were lucky to get support from NGOs and government.”

Recalling the horrific moment, her grandfather Arunagiri, who goes by only one name, said the man was at least 176 pounds and came crashing down on her seconds before they entered the store.

He said: “It was the most horrifying thing I had seen. The man landed right on her and immediately she collapsed. We did not know the man but the shop owner who informed Dhanya’s parents and called an ambulance.

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“She had suffered head and spinal injuries and broken right leg. We are very happy that she is recuperating.”

A police complaint against Shiva was registered by Sreedhar for ‘causing grievous hurt by act of endangering life or personal safety of others’.