Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Kerala mum lost unborn child and a leg in Air India Express Dubai-Kozhikode plane crash. She is still in hospital

Dubai: A mother of two, who lost her unborn child and a leg after the Air India Express Dubai-Kozhikode plane crash on August 7, is still in a hospital in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Thajina K.P Para, 32, and her children – 11-year-old son Muhammed Hisham, and seven-year-old daughter Hadiya - are among the survivors who are yet to get back to normal life even four months after the COVID-19 special repatriation flight from the UAE crashed on that rainy night.

Thajina’s husband Abdul Rasheed, 36, got back to his workplace in Dubai a few weeks ago after caring for his wife in three different hospitals since the time he reached Kerala the day after the plane accident.

Abdul Rasheed, an accountant with a chick feeds manufacturing company, shared the untold plight of his wife and children in a phone interview to Gulf News.

He said he had brought his family on a visit when the children’s school vacation started in Kerala in March.

Thajina was four months pregnant with their third child when she boarded the flight IX1344 which was repatriating Indians stranded in the UAE due to COVID-19 under India’s Vande Bharat Mission.

“They were seated on 6D, E and F,” said Abdul Rasheed.

It was around that part of the fuselage that the aircraft split into two after the flight overshot the tabletop runway and plunged about 35ft down into a gorge in inclement weather conditions.

Thajina and children had lost consciousness and could not recollect anything related to the crash, said Abdul Rasheed.

“It’s a big blessing. Doctors have also told them not to try to recollect the tragedy.”

However, Thajina had sustained multiple injuries, on the legs and head and she suffered a miscarriage while being operated on during an emergency surgery to fix a thigh fracture, said Abdul Rasheed. That was just the beginning of a series of surgeries that she underwent. Abdul Rasheed said he cannot remember exactly how many she has undergone so far.

“In the first hospital in Kerala, she went through a couple of surgeries every week. Around 10 surgeries were done there itself,” he said.

Thajina was later shifted to another hospital in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu which is a tertiary care center for spinal disorder and orthopaedic surgeries.

“After the second opinion also confirmed that her left leg had to be amputated below the knee, that surgery was done on September 5,” said Abdul Rasheed.

However, the hopes to use a below knee prosthesis in the near future were, however, had dimmed very soon.

An infection developed around the amputated area due to some foreign particles that crept deeper inside the upper leg due to the impact of the crash, said Abdul Rasheed.

Hence, Thajina had to undergo a couple of more surgeries to remove and wash out the crushed foreign particles that had affected the bones.

Thajina was discharged from that hospital on October 31. But, she had to be admitted again in another hospital in Kerala on November 5 due to the infection that worsened after reaching home. She had to undergo one more surgery there.

It is likely to be a long road to recovery for Thajina as doctors have suggested her leg has to be amputated further up from the thigh where she had suffered a fracture.

“There is inflammation and discharge coming out of her knee even now. It has come down, but that needs to be stopped completely. She says sometimes it is painful from inside. She is no longer on painkillers but she is still on antibiotics. We need to think about the next surgery soon. She will have to get one more plastic surgery and bone grafting done. I don’t know how many more surgeries would be needed to remove the three steel rods below her right knee and two rods above both the knees,” said Abdul Rasheed.

Apart from the professional counselling services given by a psychiatrist in the initial days after the crash, the big mental support to wade through the crisis was offered to Thajina by none other than her better half.

“She has been a strong woman. I have tried my best to keep her stronger after the crash. She has accepted the reality. But, there have been times when she just lost it. She has also suffered phantom pain [painful sensations that seem to be coming from the part of the limb that is no longer there] after the amputation. All that is quite natural. We are trying to face everything one step at a time. I am just so grateful that I got my wife and children back alive,” said Abdul Rasheed.

He said Thajina’s elder sister has been taking care of her in the hospital after he returned to Dubai to resume work.

While their mother has been away in the hospital for longer than themselves, Thajina’s children are now slowly recovering at home under the care of Abdul Rasheed’s parents. Air India Express has supported the family with the appointment of a home nurse to take care of them.

08/12/20 Sajila Saseendran/Jaya Chandran/Gulf News

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