As a result of a motorcycle accident at the age of 33, Zeeshan’s leg had to be amputated below the knee. He was treated for a month and a half but the injury was further complicated and the fear of gangrene loomed. The lower part of the leg was totally destroyed. The infection was so bad that part of the leg was dead from lack of blood supply.
Zeeshan was a man of fine, intelligent feature, dressed in clean clothing. He spoke on 7th March 2014 with fine lines of pain written all over his face, said the accident occurred on 20thDecember, 2013. He suffered from multiple fractures of the left leg and has been hospitalized for the past two and a half months. He had been married six months ago, relocated from rural Punjab to Rawalpindi. He worked as marketing manager for a multinational company, was on duty when he avoided being rammed into a truck, he was overthrown against an iron barrier along the road. He was rushed to the hospital by a passerby.
Zeeshan was the only bread winner of a bed-ridden mother with multiple ailments and that of his young wife. This is a situation which has faced Zeeshan with catastrophic burden of healthcare expenditures and consequently has become impoverished. His wife was compelled to sell off her jewelry and other assets. The family is faced with an accumulating debt, all his savings have been run down. The disability of Zeeshan as an income earner would reduce future income.
He is a man in the prime of his life with a family, would essentially be wheel-chair bound and unable to work for a long time. He has a long road ahead of him. He will have to undergo months of physical therapy before he is fitted with a prosthetic leg. The psychological impact may be in the form of anxiety and depression directed towards the loss of a limb and the stigma around disability. He may also have to bear with the intense insensitivity of negative attitudes of people toward disability. On the other hand acceptance and a greater sense of autonomy may be factors which can facilitate coping during rehabilitation.
He spoke from his heart and stated: ‘Although I am preparing myself for the worst, I have no clue how bad the future would be with disability’. ‘I would probably be in a wheel chair, perhaps will get past it, to the prosthetic, I would have to live an entire experience, embrace changes, adapt to them and realize that I will still be a viable human being.’ ‘My young bride is still coming to grips with what has happened to me.’
Amputation is a triple threat. This was spelt out by Zeeshan, he talked of loss of function, loss of sensation and loss of body image. Although he showed resilience, he worried about the dedication of his wife who would have to care for him and his ailing mother and also worried about his self worth. He added that he has already experienced rejection from his employers on account of his disability. His future employment is causing a great degree of psychological stress. He poses the question whether his partner would be supportive on a long term, would she take functions when needed and would his self-esteem be maintained.
At the time he was referred to Heartfile he was completely depleted financially. The procedure was scheduled, he could not afford the cost. Once again Heartfile came in support to a medically impoverished patient for the cost of medication and grafting which was performed on 9th March.
Road accident is a growing public health problem in Pakistan. It has become a daily reality for many. The story of Zeeshan is disheartening and as he stated ‘ the accident has become a nightmare from which will I ever wake up from.’
In an emergency situation Heartfile has come into action and has given a new lease of life and hope to Zeeshan who is trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty on account of the high cost of a long treatment.