Sharjah teen dies after long battle with kidney disease caused by insect bite

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Sharjah Filed on September 9, 2020 | Last updated on September 9, 2020 at 06.37 am
Sharjah teen, insect bite , Sandra Ann Jaison

(Photo: Alamy)

The 18-year-old Indian teenager's story gained much attention in media as she had scored top results in her CBSE board exams.

Heart-breaking tributes poured in for an Indian teenager in Sharjah who died after six years of battling chronic kidney disease.

The 18-year-old Sandra Ann Jaison passed away in the south Indian state of Kerala on Monday, after suffering two consecutive cardiac arrests, her father Jaison Thomas told Khaleej Times.

A student of Sharjah Indian School and a member of the Sharjah Marthoma Church, Sandra was diagnosed with Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) vasculitis in 2014 after being bit by an insect.

Her story gained much attention in Malayalam media last month as she had scored top grades in her Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations, despite not having attended a single day of classes this academic year.

"She was undergoing dialysis the entire time. She studied from home and attempted the board exams this year with the help of a scribe," said a tearful Thomas.

Sandra scored 75 per cent in her Grade 12 CBSE exams. In an earlier interview with a radio station in Dubai, she had said: "I wanted to become an air hostess. But now, I want to become a clinical psychologist. I want to pursue my higher education in Dubai."

The community, especially her school and church, has always been proud of her achievements. She was brave and bright and a role model to the youth, they said.

EP Johnson, president of Sharjah Indian Association, said: "On behalf of the school and the community group, I can say we were really hoping that Sandra would survive. She was a very bright student. My sincere condolences are with the family. The association and the school have done everything in our power to support the family."

Kidney transplant scheduled

The family had travelled to Kerala on June 21 this year on a special repatriation flight as Sandra was scheduled to undergo a kidney transplant by end-September.

"We had lined up a donor for a kidney transplant. She was supposed to have the surgery later this month. Unfortunately, we lost her yesterday," Thomas said.

Sandra showed signs of breathlessness at 9am on Monday, he said. "We rushed her to the hospital where we were told she had a mild cardiac arrest. Following which, she was given medications for recovery, but her blood pressure was not normalising. A few hours later, she suffered a second attack."

Sandra is survived by her dad, mum, who is a nurse with the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention, and a younger sister.

"Most probably, we will hold her funeral at the Emmanuel Marthoma Church in Adur, Kerala, on Wednesday," the father said.

What is HSP?

Henoch-Schonlein Purpura (HSP) is a disease involving inflammation of small blood vessels. It most commonly occurs in children. The inflammation causes blood vessels in the skin, intestines, kidneys, and joints to start leaking. According to Sandra's medical reports, she was diagnosed with HSP in 2014 when she developed bullous lesions on her feet and calf, following an insect bite. The lesions further extended to her waistline. By 2019, Sandra was diagnosed with stage five chronic kidney disease.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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