Sunita is 29 yrs old. More importantly she weighs 22 kg and has a BMI which doctors term “incompatible with life”. Most importantly she lungs are riddled with TB. She is a mother to four kids, the youngest being 7 months old. More than frail, she looks friable. The only noise she makes is the constant raking cough which makes her whole frame rattle. She never complains about her illness, her circumstances, her poverty. She has too little energy left to complain, so little that it had to take sheer good luck, instead of a cry for help, for the doctors to find out that Sunita was also suffering from another serious condition which caused excruciating pain in her left calf and thigh.  She cannot do anything but lie down the whole time. Her attendants answer the questions her physicians ask her, simply because she is either in the midst of violent bouts of cough or gasping to get a fistful of air into whatever remains of her lungs. Sunita is what the physician would call “a poor prognosis”.

                 –    By Dr. Dipasri Konar

The Lady Without lungs

“Ma’am”, called the resident in the corridor, “how is the lady-without-lungs doing?” After getting over the feeling of being gob smacked, you would realize how apt the description was! 21 yrs old Nisha, with big calm eyes and a quiet dignity, had almost no functioning lungs. Her X-ray was a testimony to a long fight between life and death. Life, was on the losing side. Her lungs were a raging battleground where tuberculosis was on the rampage and only one frontier was left to be conquered, a portion of the upper lobe of her left lung. It was that part primarily which was fighting for her life when she finally sought medical help. As if to mock the viewer, the upper lobe of the right counterpart, presented with a big cavity- a blackhole of helplessness where the spoils of war were enjoyed by the merciless bacteria. And as to how she was doing- she was doing as well as a fish out of water.

       –  By Dr. Dipasri Konar