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:: TAG-VHS Diabetes Research Centre
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Budding Malli Crushed!
Malli was a bright and intelligent child. She was eager to learn and could grasp whatever she was taught in double quick time. She loved going to school and excelled in studies.
Trauma and tragedy struck Malli early in life. Her mother died leaving behind two young daughters – little Malli and her mentally challenged sister. Malli’s father, who was a wage-earner at a local factory, married his wife’s younger sister. He sincerely hoped that she would bring up the girls and care for them as her own.
But that was not to be. The newly-wedded step-mother neglected the siblings. She got Malli to look after her challenged-sister. The situation worsened when she gave birth to children of her own. Malli had to discontinue her schooling and apart from the fulltime occupation of looking after her challenged sister, had to take on household chores. Barely 12 years old at that time, Malli, was crushed – both physically and mentally. She so desperately wanted to continue her education.
Her father took her to the VHS Diabetes Department in a highly traumatized, depressed state. There she was diagnosed as a juvenile diabetic. Her father disowned her and virtually abandoned her at the VHS Diabetes Department and departed. He even gave in writing that he would not be in a position to look after her and would put her into a Home if she were ever sent back by them
For Malli, this was probably a blessing in disguise. The Diabetes Department at the VHS took good care of all her needs – physical and mental. They taught her self-management of her diabetes and the smart girl learnt in a jiffy. Not one to stop with looking after herself, Malli soon became a diabetes instructor cum educator! She became the apple of everyone’s eyes at the VHS Diabetes Department.
Apart from looking after her personal and medical needs, the Department gave Malli some money to spend on herself. However, Malli would visit her family from time to time and hand over the money to them. This, despite the fact that she was an unwelcome guest in the eyes of her family and was ill-treated even on her visits!
Meanwhile, when Malli expressed a desire to pursue her education, the Department, got her enrolled into a Correspondence Course and sponsored her education. She passed her Std. 10 Examinations with flying colours. Not one to rest on her laurels, Malli’s innate desire to study and further qualify, came to the fore. She urged her mentors to suggest courses for her. The Department acceded to her request and secured admission for her in a Preliminary ‘A’ Certificate Course at the Gandhi Computer School in Chennai. She was 20 years old at that time.
But alas! Just when Malli was beginning to blossom, fate struck another cruel blow on this budding angel! She developed kidney problems and low grade kidney failure. On investigation it was found that this had nothing to do with her diabetic condition. Her blood vessels were thinner than normal, probably a congenital birth defect. This proved to be a major handicap in her case since the doctors could not put her on the usual dialysis procedure – Arterio-Venous Access. She was put on a more expensive procedure, costing over Rs.15000/-. The VHS Diabetes Department funded all these expenses.
Although the laboratory parameters were not that bad her clinical condition worsened rapidly. Doctors strived hard, battling against all odds, but to no avail. Malli breathed her last leaving her bereft doctors in a dilemma. It was felt that it was not her diabetic condition that caused her premature death. The trauma and tremendous amount of mental stress Malli underwent at a tender age due to her family circumstances could have depressed her immune system and led to multi-organ failure and death.
This Malli (Tamil name for Jasmine), might have been crushed in the bud, but her fragrance still haunts the portals of the VHS Diabetes Department!
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