NAGPUR: Thirteen-year-old Percy (name changed) from Zambia wants to be an honest lawyer. But had it not been for a team of doctors at the Wockhardt Hospital in city it may not have been possible to pursue her dream.
Percy was suffering from osteogenic sarcoma (a form of bone cancer) in her thigh bone (femur) and was told by doctors in Zambia that she could be saved only by amputating the leg. Doctors in Zambia sent her biopsy report to Wockhardt Hospital. The doctors here decided against amputation and wanted to give a general cancer treatment like excision of tumour and putting a prosthesis in the damaged leg bone a try. And after a long treatment of over two months, the girl is able to stand on her feet and walk.
“I want to be a lawyer. Most lawyers cheat their clients. I want to get into the profession and try to bring in some change in the profession,” Percy told TOI.
She used to frequently fall and suffer from severe pain in her leg. The only child of her parents, she was herself disturbed by learning about the disease. She was put on chemotherapy but even after three months of that they suggested amputation. Sunil Sahasrabudhe, centre head, Wockhardt heart hospital, said her parents decided against it and contacted the international business cell of Wockhardt through local doctors. Before that, they sent her X-ray and biopsy report to Nagpur.
When Percy was finally brought to Nagpur, the doctors found her too weak and anaemic to operate. Also, she had developed infection around her cancer. So the doctors first treated her with antibiotics and, when the infection subsided, by chemotherapy. Then Dr Manish Agrawal from Mumbai was roped in to remove the tumour. The longest bone in leg was infected by 80%. Tumour had covered 30cm of the 37cm bone.
“The doctor put a rod in place of the bone along with a spacer containing antibiotic for preventing post operative infection. In second round of surgery, Dr Pahurkar and Dr Dongre put a prosthesis in her leg after removing the spacer. Before the surgery, the patient was immobile and could not stand or bend her knee. Now she can walk on her own,” said Dr Pahurkar.
Dr Dongre explained that when Percy was brought to Nagpur, the doctors at Zambia had told that cancer cells had spread to lungs and some other parts. Investigations here found the cancerous cells had regressed due to chemotherapy. Now, the chance of cancer resurfacing are almost negligible. “Of course, she will need two more cycles of chemotherapy with a gap of three weeks,” he added.