Extremely Drug-Resistant TB patients undergoes surgery with the help of ‘crowdfunding campaign’

Thirty-year-old Pune resident Debashree Lokhande has been battling Extremely Drug-Resistant TB has successfully underwent left lung removal surgery on May 29. My Medical Mantra had first reported on how survivors against TB — a group of tuberculosis survivors — have initiated crowdfunding campaign for her surgery. Her surgery is going to cost Rs4 lakh, and through crowdfunding people have donated Rs1,74,101 till Tuesday morning

TB patients’ crowdfunding campaign gets overwhelming response, gather over Rs1.5 lakh

Neeta Sawant*, a 30-year-old Pune resident who has been battling Extremely Drug-Resistant TB (XXDR-TB), successfully underwent left lung removal surgery on May 29 at PD Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. My Medical Mantra had first reported on how survivors against TB — a group of tuberculosis survivors — have initiated crowdfunding campaign for Neeta’s surgery.

Neeta’s mother Radhika on Tuesday informed My Medical Mantra that Neeta’s left lung pneumonectomy surgery which involved removal of left lung went well on Monday. Radhika said she was recovering well and there were no post-surgery complications.

If everything goes well, Radhika said, then it would be the last battle for her daughter. While the family have exhausted all their savings by spending around Rs 40 lakh for her treatment, TB survivors have started crowdfunding for her surgery, which is going to cost Rs 4 lakh. When last seen on Tuesday morning, people have donated Rs 1,74,101 on the crowdfunding platform.

Radhika, who works as a admin head at DY Patil Medical College, Pimpri, said, “Operation went well and there are no post-surgery complications. Neeta even spoke with me in the morning and she is not having any pain. Her condition is stable. Doctors have asked her to take complete rest for six weeks.”

“We have paid some money in advance to the hospital. It is the amount which we could somehow manage to give. The rest we have not paid and we will pay from whatever is generated through crowdfunding,” she added.  The Lokhande’s are looking forward to Neeta’s life post-surgery. “After the surgery, she will have to make some compromises. But the doctor had assured us she would be able to work full-time and lead a normal life,” her mother added.

Six years ago, life was blooming for her till the date she was diagnosed with TB. Neeta was a newly graduated architect from Cummins college, Pune and was working with an architectural firm in Ahmedabad. Dance, music and hockey were her passion and she was chasing many dreams in her life. In August, 2011, when she was diagnosed with TB, the painful battle started and her life trajectory changed.

Her mother informed that she was recently administered to a course of last resort drugs like Bedaquiline and Delamanid with which her condition improved. She said, “Because of many wrongs in the treatment in the earlier stages, her left lung is fully damaged and it needs removal.” Neeta got admitted at Hinduja on May 26, and underwent left lung pneumonectomy in Mumbai on May 29.

When contacted, Dr Zarir Udwadia, under whom Neeta is taking TB treatment, refused to comment on the surgery.

The link to the crowdfunding campaign to help her is https://milaap.org/fundraisers/Urgent-TB-Surgery.

(* We have changed the name of the patient to protect her identity)