12-yr-old boy, a ‘ghost’ for friends recovers from severe birth defects

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Bengaluru, 8th December 2022: In yet another medical feat, a team of doctors at Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru and Aster Medcity, Kochi successfully performed a complex craniofacial surgery on 12-year-old Aaron Bhadra, born with multiple complications from Kolkata. He didn’t have nostrils or a palate, had multiple holes in his heart, one of his eyes was completely dysfunctional and the doctors suspected that his brain might not function properly too.


Eventually, his medical condition started to affect him mentally. He often gets upset when other kids of his age call him a ghost and shut him out. Because of this, he was homeschooled. As a kid, he wishes to enjoy his school life and play with his friends. Since birth, Aaron has undergone 15 different surgeries to survive. The family had sold everything they owned to afford the surgeries.


Life hasn’t been easy for Aaron. However, his parents have been on the constant mission to provide Aaron a better life. He has undergone 15 surgeries right from the moment he was born. Now, he is doing really well and is so close to getting every problem fixed with this one last and major surgery. But due to the prevailing financial condition, the family was not able to afford the surgeries. His parents refused to give up and kept fighting for his survival. Their hope soon arrived in the form of few well-wishers, the Newslions Media Network Pvt Ltd facilitated the treatment along with Milaap through a crowdfunding effort to provide him this life-changing surgery.


Aaron underwent a complex craniofacial surgery at Aster CMI Hospital under a Team of doctors – Dr. Ravi Gopal Varma, Director – Aster Global Institute of Neurosciences & Lead Consultant – Neurosurgery, Dr. Dilip Panikar, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, Dr. Manish Pai, Consultant – Neuro Surgery, Dr. Santhosh N U, Consultant – Neurosurgery & Endovascular Neurosurgery, Dr. Nirmala S, Consultant – Neurosurgery, Dr. Sherry Peter, Senior Consultant – Craniomaxillofacial Surgery and Dr. Sathish M S Vasishta, Consultant – Craniomaxillofacial Surgery.


Speaking about the condition of the patient, Dr. Ravi Gopal Varma, Director – Aster Global Institute of Neurosciences & Lead Consultant – Neurosurgery, Aster Hospitals, Bengaluru said, “Aaron suffered from Craniosynostosis, a birth defect in which the bones in a skull join together too early. This condition can cause the head to stop growing in the areas where the sutures (the spaces between a typical baby’s skull bones are filled with flexible material) have fused, and expands abnormally in other areas. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as severe and permanent head deformity, increased pressure on the brain, seizures and developmental delay.”


Dr. Dilip Panikar, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, Aster Medcity, Kochi, said, “The surgery was a combined effort from Aster CMI and Aster Medcity. It’s a high-cost surgery with many challenges. However, with the help of skilled doctors and high-end technologies available at the hospital, we were able to successfully performed the surgery.


Commenting on the complications and complexities involved in the surgery, Dr. Sathish M S Vasishta, Consultant – Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, Aster CMI Hospital, said “Aaron had Orbital Hypertelorism which was treated surgically. Orbital Hypertelorism is a rare birth defect with an occurrence of 1-2% in one lakh live birth. It causes an abnormally increase in lateral distance between the orbits. He also had cleft lip and palate which was corrected before. He could breathe only through one nostril. First we mapped a 3 D model of the skull and planned the Osteotomy. Then we did the frontal craniotomy. Post that, the distance between the two eyes is reduced. We have also grated a nose and pushed forward the upper jaw to give a new look and more presentable.


“In India, there are not many centers that can do the surgery. It is a highly complicated surgery that involves a close coordination between Neurology, Craniomaxillofacial and Anesthesia Team. Aaron underwent a 12 hours’ surgery under general anesthesia. The entire skull and bones were cut into multiple pieces and then aligned,” said Dr. Sherry Peter, Senior Consultant, Aster Medcity, Kochi.


Thanking the doctors, Sumita, mother of Aaron commented, “We are very happy to see how our child is doing now. Aaron aspires to become a Veterinarian and we want to provide the best we could to achieve his dream. No words would be enough to thank the doctors, nurses, staff and those generous people who have contributed to save our son’s precious life. You have given our son a future and hope.”


Aaron was kept under observation in the PICU for 2 days post the surgery. His condition improved significantly and now he is discharged from the hospital with a big smile on his face.