WION Impact: Govt begins to fund national-level archer Gohela Boro's medical treatment
Doctors are now debating whether to amputate the affected fingers on her right hand. Photograph: (Facebook)
National-level archer Gohela Boro fell mysteriously ill last year. She was treated in Assam, with her treatment funded by individual contributions.
But a campaign by WION has finally got the sports ministry to help fund her treatment, and she is now being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
There has also been some clarity on the condition ailing her.
WION met with Gohela's family at AIIMS on Sunday.
Smiling and happy to receive visitors in her hospital room, Gohela said, “I feel better now. Before getting admitted here I was in a lot of pain. Past one year I have had malaria and typhoid several times -- which led to constant pain in the joints. Doctors say that I have gangrene which has affected my hands and legs. Doctors have removed the affected areas -- three toes -- on my right foot.”
According to the doctors at AIIMS, “Gohela is suffering from a condition in which blood supply to some parts of her body suddenly stops. It results in parts of her body drying up -- leading to severe pain. She is suffering from gangrene that has affected fingers of both hands and legs.”
Gohela has not been able to walk for months now because of the gangrene. Doctors have surgically removed three toes of her right foot and are now debating whether they should also amputate the affected fingers on her right hand since she is unable to use it.
Despite the prognosis, Gohela's family looks more relieved than ever.
Her parents are back home in Assam taking care of Gohela’s other siblings but Gohela's younger sister Dane and her fiance Sansuma Basumataray are at AIIMS looking after her.
“I am very happy now as didi (elder sister) is getting proper treatment. Didi has been admitted for 10 days now and she has shown improvement. We paid for medicines for first three days only, after which the sports ministry intervened and arranged for our medicines to be free of cost,” said Dane.
Gohela comes from a small village called New Amguri in Kokrajhar in Assam.
Owing to “no good hospitals, comparable to AIIMS or Apollo in Assam”, said Dane, Gohela was treated at a hospital in Guwahati last year when her health deteriorated.
“We tried to stay strong. People from Bodoland and an MLA from Assam gave us some money during the initial phase. When we got Rs 1,50,000, we took her to a hospital in Guwahati but when she got sick again in January this year, we couldn’t take her to a hospital,” said Dane.
“Doctors at the Guwahati hospital advised Gohela to be taken to AIIMS in Delhi or Apollo in Chennai for intensive care and treatment” but the family of ten did not have the money for it, until now.
The family never lost hope though.
Said Sansuma, “After January, when we had exhausted all our funds, I even thought of selling my land to fund her medical treatment. But it didn’t go through. We then took another route and with the help of Assam government sport bodies, we wrote letters of help. It attracted media attention.
“Discovery Club, an NGO, also helped us in this struggle. Media has contributed a lot in making people notice Gohela and empathise with her story. Today, sports ministry is funding her entire treatment.”
Sansuma met Gohela in 2006 while they were in school. They exchanged rings in February 2015 with the promise to marry in three years.
“Only two years are left now, I can’t wait to get married to Gohela. I left my studies because I wanted to take care of her. I just hope to see her stand on her feet again and play,” he added.
Gohela dreams of resuming her archery. “Doctors are saying that I will be fine but it will take time. I can't walk at the moment but I hope I will be able to. I want to train like before and practise archery again but I'm scared. I'll try, I know it will be difficult," she said.
Doctors at AIIMS have asked for a “couple of days to get clarity on Gohela’s condition”.
Her family meanwhile, while grateful for the support from the ministry, is also skeptical about future.
“We don't know who will provide for Gohela once she is discharged from here and what if the illness comes back once we return to Assam?” asks Dane.