… donations pour to cover extra medical costs

Dechen Tshomo

Battling 19 hours of surgery followed by complications, 14-month-old baby Yudra Tshering Zeepa is finally out of the hospital and at a rented apartment in Delhi, India with his parents.

The baby was discharged from the hospital on January 15 after being in a critical condition for over a month following a liver transplant.

The father and donor, Dechen Wangchuk donated 34 percent (273 grams) of his liver to his son. He said that both of them were recovering well. “Our son is also getting better each day.”

Both had undergone two surgeries each following complications after the first surgery on December 23, last year. For the baby, the first surgery took 16 hours and three hours in the second surgery.

The surgery time for the donor was seven hours more compared to the recipient. The first surgery for the donor took 23 hours.

The second surgery was not included in the initial estimated treatment cost of Nu 3 million (M).

The family needed an additional Nu 1M for the second surgery. “This was after Bhutan Health Liaison Officer at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy, in New Delhi, Tashi Dawa requested the hospital for a discount,” he said.

With no other choice left, the family again sought the support of the well-wishers. The second round of fundraising began on social media on the afternoon of January 17 by a team who calls themselves Baby Yudra Team. Members include Bhutan Kidney Foundation Executive Director Tashi Namgay, Phuntsho Namgay, and Dr Chuni Selden.

In less than 32 hours, the target of raising Nu 1M was achieved and the fundraising was officially closed at 9:51pm on January 18.

Dechen Wangchuk said while the surgery was successful his son was kept under observation for over a month after the surgery.

“Dr Neelam Mohan and her team did their best to treat the complications. The team said it was a miracle for the baby to overcome such complications,” he said.

“I am out of words to express my gratitude to everyone for their support and prayers. It is because of the compassionate well-wishers that helped us through this difficult journey.”

For Jigme Choden, the mother, it was an emotional moment to hold and nurse her son after 17 days.

“Seeing him fight for his life every second in the critical unit got me scared. The thought that I might never get to hold him again was killing me,” Jigme Choden said. “My baby regaining his health after 17 days was a miracle for us.”

Dechen Wangchuk said the baby was also emotional when he saw the parents for the first time after so long. “He was not able to open his mouth to cry but tears continued to flow from his eyes when he saw us.”

He said that he and his family will be forever grateful to everyone for their support and prayers, without which the family would have never known the strength of coming together for a good cause.

“We can’t find words to thank the compassionate donors and Tsa-was-sum at large for the generous support and giving our son a second life,” he said.

“We will be forever grateful and words cannot express the depth of our feelings.”