Despite being discharged over six months ago, four-year-old Jagga continues to stay at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the national capital, which has almost become like a second home for him.
Jagga and his brother Kaliya, also known as Baliya, made headlines in October, 2017, when the heads of these craniopagus conjoined twins were separated by AIIMS’ doctors in a first of its kind successful rare surgery in India.
The twins, born in a poor Adivasi family at Milipada village under Phiringia block in Kandhamal district in Odisha, had joint heads at the time of birth. They were admitted to AIIMS in July 2017 when they were two years and four months old.
After a team of 20 doctors separated the Siamese twins’ heads,Jagga showed quick recovery even though he will need another surgery to graft the skull bone after he turns five.
His twin Kaliya, however, still battles to lead a normal life and continues to be on the hospital bed.
“We discharged Jagga a few months ago,” says Sushamma, chief ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife), AIIM’s CN Tower 6. But he continues to live in private ward no 6, which has been booked in Kaliya’s name since July, 2017.
“Jagga has to stay here even after being discharged because his parents need to look after Kaliya who is still undergoing treatment,” she explains. Sporting a special skull cap on his head, Jagga can often be seen squealing, running and playing football in the corridors of the hospital. The doctors, nurses, sanitation staff, guards and liftmen also give him friendly attention.
“We have become quite fond of Jagga and enjoy his little acts of mischief. He is like a family member now since he has been living here for such a long time,’’ says Ajay, a sanitation worker who often plays with the child.
“Jagga is very happy here as everyone treats him well. But sometimes, he misses playing with children of his age,” rues his father Bhuyan Kanhar, a farm labourer.
Though he has never been to school, Jagga knows both English and Hindi alphabets by heart. “Jagga spends a lot of time in the company of the hospital staff who have taught him etiquettes also,” adds Bhuyan.
Like most children these days, Jagga is also obsessed with the mobile phone. “Even though there is a wall-mounted LED TV in the room, he mostly plays on the phone,” says his mother Pushpanjali. “Much to Jagga’s delight, who is fond of fish, he gets to eat his favourite food thrice a week, courtesy Odisha Bhawan,” says Bhuyan. He also informs that the Odisha government has not only paid for surgery and medical expenses but also arranged a car for local conveyance and all three meals from Odisha Bhawan on a daily basis. “We sometimes use the car to take Jagga around Delhi. A year after the surgery, we took him to India Gate where he enjoyed himself,” recalls Bhuyan.
The couple is looking forward to going home when the doctors discharge Kaliya. “We have not visited our home since the twins were admitted here around 2 years ago, as Kaliya’s condition continues to be critical. But he have been told that he may be discharged soon,” he says.
Mar 30, 2021 09:11 IST