Pakistani girl undergoes 100th surgery for rare skin disease
Lahore - She said it is not short of a miracle that she is still alive
A 25-year-old Pakistani girl, who has spent most of her life in hospitals, has just underwent her 100th surgery related to a rare skin disease.
The 100th surgery has been performed on Fauzia Yousuf at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital (SZH) Lahore who has been suffering from "fibromatoses" from an early age.
"I am ready to undergo more surgeries but I will not allow doctors to cut my left arm (which developed fibromatoses)," Fauzia said while talking to PTI here on Sunday.
"Doctors say they will have to cut my arm to save my life as the disease may spread to my neck and other parts of the body but I prefer death to life without my arm.
"I am fighter but frankly speaking I do not want to live a life of a handicapped person," Fauzia said.
She said it is not short of a miracle that she is still alive.
"Hospitals especially SZH are my second home. I was eight-year-old when I had first surgery on my left arm. I have made a number of friends in SZH who show a lot of care," she said.
Fauzia, second of her five siblings, belongs to a family with limited means and many of her dear ones also are grappling with different ailments.
"A total amount of Rs 15,000 is spent on monthly medicines for me and parents. I am thankful to the donors for their help in this regard," she said.
Fibromatoses are a diverse group of soft-tissue lesions that occur at different ages and anatomic locations.
"Fauzia grew up in the hospital as she started visiting the health facility when she was studying in Grade-II. Hers is a unique case and she has become familiar to everyone in the administration and even in many other departments due to her years-long stay," said Prof Dr Shafiq Ahmad, SZH Orthopedic Department head, who performed 55 consecutive surgeries on her left forearm.
He says it's a rare case in the medical history of the world but it is shocking to see the disease has also appeared on her legs from where skin was being taken to graft the diseased area (arm) during every surgery.
"Now after 100 surgeries this particular case has entered a critical and troubling phase for us due to the toxic effects of drugs and unavailability of the skin from her body for graft.
"We are much concerned about her life because no donor area for skin grafting is available in her body. It is nightmarish to see the disease appearing on other parts of her body," Dr Ahmad added.
"The only option left for him is application of artificial skin graft on the diseased area but this facility is not available in Pakistan and the treatment abroad is very expensive," the doctor said.