When 35-year-old Rajesh met with a bike accident and became paraplegic, his life came to a standstill. He lost his job as a marketing executive. He was the only breadwinner of his family and had old parents, a small child and a wife to support. Now he was bed ridden, physically injured, emotionally traumatized and had no idea how he would lead his life. This is only one such story of a person with Spinal Cord Injury. Road accidents, falling from heights and workplace accidents are the most common causes behind spine and head injuries in India. Around 80% of these accidents happen to the low-income group people, of which 90% are men in the age group of 18-40 and usually the main breadwinners of the family. Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) is a life-altering experience not only for the person but for everyone around them. There are many people with such a condition, and not many know what to do in such a situation.
Another 65 years old, Lakshmi was shopping in a supermarket when she felt that her right side of the body was becoming numb, she was unable to talk and had a sudden severe headache. She was rushed to a hospital and a brain scan showed that she had a massive stroke to the left side of her brain with a blood clot. She had a surgery and slowly recovered in the ICU for the next 3 weeks. She had a pervious history of diabetes and hypertension with a sedentary life style. However, she ran her own boutique shop with 2 kids studying in college out of the city awaiting a bright future. She was in hospital with a tracheostomy for 2 months leaving her with a big bill and loan. Her family was shattered with no direction and a mother who was not fully conscious, unable to talk or self-care and bed ridden. They were directionless. Stroke is the 3rd commonest cause of death in India and we are the capital to Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart attacks in the world. 55% of those with a stroke are left with severe disability.
The injury to Rajesh and stroke to Lakshmi is something we hear of all the time happening to people around us. This leaves the patients with loss of personal space, independence, individuality and relationships. This paralysis the entire families’ resources and puts them into poverty, isolation, divorce, depression and suicide, loss of child education, loss of job and self-neglect. Patients who have an injury or disease to the spine and brain, who have a disability will require rehabilitation. It is a process of restoring a person to good functional independence through various methods of therapy.
“HAMSA” with a mythological meaning of good luck health, positivity, healing and protection, is the first dedicated, holistic rehabilitation centre in Chennai, which is a doctor lead service. Its aim is to provide quality rehab for patients with spinal and neurological disorder or injuries. It not only provides support to patients who are suffering from spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, back and neck pain, cerebral palsy and severe neurological disorders but also supports their caretakers. We aim to put the person affected back into the community as a productive citizen.
HAMSA was officially inaugurated on 29th October 2019 by Mr Ramakrishnan, himself a quadriplegic and founder of Amar SevaSangam, a disability services & support organization from Aygudi. The chief guests were all very senior and renowned Neurologists and Neurosurgeons from Chennai who deal with patients with severe spine and brain disabilities.
HAMSA has twenty inpatient beds and provides inpatient, outpatient and day care services. According to Dr Balamurali, Consultant Spine and Neuro Surgeon at Kauvery Hospital, “Chennai metropolitan area is the fastest growing and 4th densely populated city in India with a population of 9.8 million. Chennai though being the healthcare capital of India lacks a comprehensive rehabilitation centre for spinal and neurological disorders. With the growing population of Chennai and the increasing demand for rehabilitation unit across specialties including brain, spine, orthopedics, pediatrics, elderly and post-operative care, HAMSA will now be the beginning of a new paradigm in healthcare vertical and we aim to provide a scientific and evidence-based practice at an affordable cost to everyone.”
Rehabilitation focuses on:
Re-learning of daily activities for self-care and independence
Vocational skills to earn their living for inclusion into the community and secondly learn
How to prevent complications from their disability for the rest of their life
HAMSA provides all the necessary medical care and services under one roof, with a team of experts, which includes Physical and Medical rehab, Neuro and Spine surgeon, Urologist, Psychiatrist, Plastic surgeon, Anesthetist, Pain specialist and therapists including Physiotherapist, Occupational therapist, Nurses, Psychologist, Speech therapist, Cognitive treatment, Social worker, Orthotist, Vocational trainer, Peer counsellor and Alternative medicine specialist. Kauvery Hospital with their 20 years of expertise in health care is a strategic partner in this venture. All the supportive quality care will be provided from Chennai Kauvery Hospital.