Parents shed superstition to correct child deformities

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Amritsar, Oct 20 (UNI) Shedding 'dogmas' and 'superstitions' connected with deformities of body parts, more and more parents are bringing their wards for corrective or reconstructive surgery in Punjab.

Significantly, more mothers are coming forward for such treatment for their daughters especially from the rural and periphery belts of various districts of the state that attach any deformity with supernatural or unnatural phenomena.

''Seeking medical solution of 'plastic surgery' seemed completely preposterous earlier due to widespread adulation when such cases were held as avatars of deities and worshipped by gullible people bringing easy-income for family of the child. However, this is slowly changing due to literacy and other factors,'' Dr S K Chauhan, plastic surgeon at the Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute disclosed at a free medical camp organised by the hospital here yesteray.

Plastic surgery is not just about correcting a deformity, congenital defect or trauma due to accidents, but also restoring near normal function and appearance of body part that causes acute emotional and functional distress in children, he said.

The deformities could be speech disorders due to tongue-tie, cleft palate or others like abnormal genitalia, absence of ears, non-healing wounds, deformed nasal cavity or corrective surgery of residual defects of previous surgery, Dr Chawla added.

The doctor clarified that in many cases the answer may not lie in other treatments like facial injuries, inability to open mouth, club hands, finger-tip injuries, fused or extra finger, drooping eyelids (ptosis ) fractures of hand, tendon and nerve injuries, birth brachial palsy, non-healing wounds, that could have favourable results in plastic surgery.

About rising number of girls being brought for treatment, he said it is an encouraging development and attributed it to growing awareness about ''negative psychological effects'' of deformities on a child. Especially amongst parents belonging to middle or lower economic sections where discrimination amongst male and female siblings was commonly endured.

Informing about government funding of many such treatments, Dr Chauhan said lack of information about facilities provided to ''government employees and their families'' had hindered timely treatment of deformities due to financial constraints.

Categories such as cleft lip/palate/ nose, sagging eyelids, Bat ears, hand deformities (such as extra fingers, non-functional thumb, joined fingers) enlarged scars or moles, absence of ears are ''identified'' problems covered by the Central Government Health Services (CGHS) and could be availed by all government employees.

UNI

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