Crash survivor lends a helping hand to the sick

Crash survivor lends a helping hand to the sick
Crash survivor lends a helping hand to the sick

Mumbai: Monika More, 24, performs a unique role at Gleaneagles Global Hospital, Parel, as an intermediary between doctors, nurses and patients. Since she took office last year, patients on the wards are less anxious and happier.

More is the city’s first transplant patient and the face of railroad accidents. She had surgery two years ago and is now keeping patients’ spirits up with stories of her journey as an accident survivor.

To mark two years since the operation, she, along with Dr. Vivek Talaulikar, the hospital’s chief executive, and Dr. Nilesh Satbhai, her transplant surgeon, sought Lalbaugcharaja’s blessing and performed aarti on Friday.

The Kurla resident lost both of her hands in January 2014 after falling through a deadly platform hole at Ghatkopar station. She was a class 11 business student at the time. After the accident, she spent six months in KEM Hospital and underwent more than eight plastic surgeries and bone remodeling operations. Her story moved people and a fund of 34 lakh were raised which helped her get one of the most advanced myoelectric prostheses of the time.

She used to live her life with prosthetic arms – one functional (electronic) and another cosmetic – but on August 28, 2020, she underwent the transplant at Global Hospital after the family of a brain dead patient in Chennai donated hands. In the time between the accident and the operation, she passed the class 12 exams and earned her business degree.

After her surgery, More was unemployed for over a year and was unsure of her calling. It was then that the hospital offered her the opportunity to interact with patients, some of whom are now her friends, she said.

She sits at the nurses station where she works between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. “I start by visiting patients, checking their medical records, their nursing records and the doses of medication they are given. At first, I struggled to understand the medical jargon, but eventually I got used to it,” she said.

As she makes her rounds, patients ask her about her hand and listen intently to her story of survival. As she said, “They love hearing my story and I’m happy to be able to make a difference in their lives.”

This camaraderie leads patients to share their concerns with More, which she escalates to relevant departments for redress.

Dr. Talaulikar said the idea of ​​appointing her as Patient Advisor was spontaneous and was among her best decisions. “On August 28 last year, as we celebrated the year of her hand transplant, we asked her about her plans. She said she wanted to work and was unemployed at the time. We immediately asked him to join us,” Dr Talaulikar said.

Dr Talaulikar also said that after his surgery, More skipped his physiotherapy sessions for one reason or another – traffic and rain being prevalent. “Her appointment at the hospital had a dual purpose: she had work to do and she didn’t miss her sessions; in fact, going to the hospital served as physiotherapy for him,” he said.

Because she is a patient care coordinator and advisor and works closely with the nursing team, she has to use her hands and fingers a lot, Dr. Talaulikar explained.

Dr Satbhai said More has been an inspiration to patients, especially those signing up for hand transplants. “His journey itself is inspiring. She spent the first six months in hospital and had a hand transplant after six years. When patients watch her lead a normal life with her transplanted hands, they feel motivated,” he said.

“More is nothing short of a celebrity here, as patients often ask to be photographed with her. She brought so many smiles to their faces,” Dr. Talaulikar said.

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