Friday, July 07, 2017

Face of Brussels bombing, Nidhi Chapekhar, to have final surgery today

Mumbai: Nidhi Khurana-Chapekhar from Mumbai became the face of the Belgium 2016 March terror attacks after that defining picture of her shell shocked face with blood streaming down it went viral.
The Andheri resident, an air-hostess with Jet Airways when terror hit Zaventem airport in Brussels, says with a laugh on the phone when asked how she is, "I am great, I can walk and I think I will fly soon." Nidhi will undergo what she hopes, "is my last surgery at the Breach Candy Hospital today (Friday, July 7). The doctors are going to attempt to remove metal shrapnel from the soles of my feet, as those are causing me lot of pain and do trouble me when I walk. There are more metal shards in my body but they won't touch that. This embedded shrapnel as a result of the bomb blast still irritates me, and I cannot walk very well when bare foot. My right foot is still swollen, you can see the difference in size in both my feet, my right looks much bigger because of the swelling. Yet, I am not complaining, in fact, I am upbeat about this surgery. I can wear sports shoes, I wear slippers, I walk around everywhere, I do physiotherapy and now I climb stairs too," explains Nidhi with a touch of pride.
The surgery today under Dr(s) D Soonawalla and A Tibrewala, come after at least 18 operations Nidhi has gone through post the terror attack. On March 22, 2016 three coordinated suicide bombings, two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels claimed 32 lives and left more than 300 injured with The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claiming responsibility for the deadliest attacks in Belgian history. Says Nidhi, "The doctors in Mumbai said we needed to wait to operate on my feet, they were also debating whether we should operate at all, but now finally have decided to do so. I have come so far by God's grace."
While Nidhi credits her healing to a divine power, her medical team in Belgium say it is her will power. Nidhi recalls a March visit this year, "I went to Belgium. There was an event held by the Belgium Govt. to mark one year of the attacks. I went to the Zaventem airport, sat in the same chair at the very spot, where I was placed one year ago. It was a powerful, cathartic and emotional experience, difficult for me to encapsulate fully in words."
07/07/17 Hemal Ashar/Mid Day