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14 Year old Lhaki’s hope of a full vision is dashed after her referral is denied

llkLhaki Dema loved to dance and she never missed any dance competition. Four years back when her right eye became blind she stopped dancing.
Her father Sonam Tshering said “for her dance competition I had to buy her a new dress and shoes annually.” But her interest in dance got lost and she avoids being with her friends and prefers to stay in her room, all alone.
When Lhaki was 11 years old her right eye got infected. It started turning red, watery and got irritated. “I can’t even face sunshine and I get giddiness too,” said Lhaki.
As soon as her eye got infected she was taken to Paro hospital and was admitted for two weeks. After that she was referred to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Thimphu.
“Even after staying for around two months, doctors in JDWNRH could not cure my daughter’s eye,” said Sonam Tshering.
On asking about the eye specialist who checked his daughter’s eye, Sonam Tshering said “I don’t remember the name but heard that he was the senior doctor.”
Even though doctors in Bhutan could not cure his daughter’s eye, Sonam Tshering fervent with hope felt that one day his daughter’s eye will be normal like before.
Therefore he asked them to help him to take Lhaki to Bangkok. But “after several visits to the doctors in JDWNRH, they gave a cold response,” he said.
Today Lhaki is using a black spectacle to cover her damaged eye.
“Every day I dream to have my previous eye and every night I pray God to cure my eye,” said Lhaki who will be in 6th Grade next year.Her parents have even noticed that her studies have suffered as she gets giddiness regularly and suffers insomnia.
“Before my daughter used to assist me to cross the road, but today I have to hold her hands and help her cross the road ,” said the father.
Meanwhile Lhaki shared that she gets a bright blurry vision and stressing her left eye too much makes her tired and suffer from headaches.Lhaki is the only daughter and the youngest in her family, which makes her parents feel more depressed and helpless.

At one time her father thought of donating his eye to her and he had even suggested the idea to the doctor when she was hospitalized in JDWNRH.
“But I am not sure whether they heard me or it fell on deaf ears,” said Sonam Tshering.
Meanwhile Health Minister Lyonpo Zanglay Drukpa said that referring a patient to Bangkok is beyond their scope. “We have certain guidelines to be followed while referring patient to international hospitals,’ he said.
He added that the health ministry is there to help them if they come to visit the hospital once again. He said they would like to see the patient’s case and ask doctors to revisit it and advise parents on how to go about it.
However the Health Minister said that out of various departments in JDWNRH, the ophthalmologist department has highly qualified doctors.

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