Dignity Restored: Zaid

Well, India may have landed a spacecraft on the moon, but we restored a leg on a boy.

Zaid Raja is a young man from Bihar state, which is impoverished. He has hemophilia A. Due to a pseudotumor—something you almost never see in the US—he had his leg amputated in December 2022. His father is a farmer; think of farming like in the 1880s in the US. Difficult, back-breaking, just earning enough to get by. And then to have a son with so many medical problems. Hemophilia and poverty together create exponentially greater hardships. While India can put a craft on the moon, so many of its people suffer as if they were back in the 19th century.

But that’s where we step in.

The US is truly the engine that drives the world, especially in hemophilia care. We have so much factor—though we are about 4% of the world’s population with hemophilia, we consume about 33% of the world’s factor supply. Just think about that. Our healthcare system is commercial, which means there is a lot of consumption—and waste. We try to ensure that nothing goes to waste. So we donate millions of IU of factor.

And occasionally, can assist to buy prosthetic limbs for these guys in need.

Rather than continue to be a burden with hemophilia and now only one leg, we bought a great prosthetic leg. Look art Zaid now! (See video below) Not just mobility restored, but dignity restored. We wish him well, and I hope to see when when I next visit India!

Thanks to the staff at Christian Medical Center Vellore for such great care for our patients!

Casting a Vote

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

Environmentalist Anna Lappe

Pritam of India

It’s voting season here in the US, and this quote above comes to mind, but not about our politicians or economy. My friend and colleague Usha, from India, from time to time alerts me to people in dire need of help. Not just charity, but a way to give that makes a long-term impact. Like buying a prosthetic for a person with hemophilia so they can regain their dignity and livelihood. I’m totally on board with that. Consider this call for help she shared:

“I’m Pritam Rudra Paul, from Agartala, Tripura, India. I’m 28 years old, and have severe hemophilia B.

I was diagnosed with hemophilia in my early childhood. But due to wrong treatment and unavailability of free factors, I was unable to continue my treatment. As a result of repeated bleeding in my joints, both my knees were damaged, and I was unable to walk. Somehow from home I continued my studies as I was unable to attend school.

“In 2007, I went through a very hard time. I visited Christian Medical Center (CMC) in Vellore, India for a severe bleed and the doctor advised an operation. I requested help from many organizations, societies, HFI and doctors from Vellore. Finally I was able to continue my treatment and had my operation in 2009. I was finally able to walk properly!

Pritam and his family

“Life went on. I completed my graduation from college, and joined in a private firm, earning my own money. This is important because I come from a poor family. My father owns a very small business, selling fast food in a thela (cart). My mother is a housewife, and I have also a sister who is also studying in college. Our income puts us below the poverty line.

“Then, on November 21, 2021 I was married! But the day before that occasion, I got a serious muscle bleed in my right leg. It was hurting tremendously. I had infused many shots of factors, but the situation was going worst day by day. I went back to Vellore on December 10, 2021. After a check up they told me to go for another operation as an infection was already spreading all over the leg. The medical team tried their best to save my leg, but unfortunately couldn’t save it.  My life was at risk due to the infection. On December 24, 2021, my leg was removed.

“The worst part was the finances. Several times I had to go to Vellore. This required money for traveling, the operation cost, and medicine.  it was near about $8,000 US, and we earn less than $3 a day. In total, my family and my wife’s savings have been spent. I had to borrow money from my friends and relatives to pay for my treatment. During this time, I lost my job too. I must now look for another.”

Pritam Rudra Paul is an impressive young man by all accounts. No self-pity, always including his family in his concerns, and I agreed to help. And now? He has a beautiful new leg and is walking again! Check out the photos and videos. This is the kind of voting I like best.

Pritam emailed me yesterday and said,  “I’m very confident by walking with this. I hope I will return soon to my normal life again. Thank you for your support and blessing. We are always thankful to you and Usha.”

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