The 23-year-old, Monika More lost both her arms in a 2014 train accident at Ghatkopar station on January 11, 2014. She slipped between a foot-wide gap between the platform and a local’s footboard. Kirit Somaiya’s Yuvak Pratishthan gave her electronic artificial hands costing Ruppes 22 lacs in July 2014. Monika was studying in SNDT junior college, Ghatkopar West at the time of the accident, she was in Std 11. She graduated in 2018-19.
Monika had been waiting to get a job in railway and was trying to arrange funds of around Rs 25 lakh for her hand transplant surgery. Her father, Ashok More, who met Asia’s first arm transplant patient Shreya Siddanagowder in September 2018, had saved some money for his daughter’s hand transplant surgery. He passed away a few weeks ago of an illness.
Monika had been with prosthetic arms and after graduating in Commerce started working as a social worker at a nursing home in Kurla, earning Rs 10,000 per month. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, she has been at home.
“Monika used to get upset during weddings or when she would see anyone with mehndi on their hands. She missed applying mehndi on her hands,” said Vishwas Jadhav, Monika’s uncle. “Monika was not able to do anything beyond holding a spoon and pen with the artificial limbs. She could not take a bath, comb her hair, eat. At 16 years, she became completely dependent on her mother. With the human limbs, she can become independent again.”
Monika was registered at Global Hospitals a few years ago where, accompanied by Somaiya, she met Dr Nilesh Satbhai. Kirit Somaiya Yuvak Pratishthan and More family decided to go for a hands transplant. Budget for the surgery was around Ruppees 20 -25 lakh. Kirit Somaiya Yuvak Pratishthan and Global Hospitals took responsibility for the cost.
On August 27, 2020, Global Hospitals received a message from their Chennai hospital about a brain dead patients whose family decided to donate his organs, including his hands. The team at Gleneagle Global Hospital, Parel, which performed the transplant included a doctor from Amrita Hospital, Kochi, Kerala, who has done similar transplant surgeries. Also a team from Global Hospitals, Chennai also participated. Surgery completed successfully on August 28 at Global Hospitals, Parel.
The Lalbaug Cha Raja trust donated Rs 1 lakh on Thursday for the surgery, while Global hospital, which undertook the transplant, paid for the chartered flight to bring the hands from Chennai. The surgery has been billed at Rs 22 lakh. “The remaining amount will be funded by the hospital and NGO Yuva Pratishthan,” said former MP Kirit Somaiya who arranged for Rs 5 lakh.
Kavita, Monika’s mother, was overwhelmed. “I am happy that the surgery went well. We are grateful to for MP Kirit Somaiya who has been supporting Monika since her accident. He made this surgery possible. We have had no source of livelihood since Monika’s father died in 2019,” she said.
“Her younger brother, Karthik, is studying. Their grandmother stays with them, They get a pension of Rs 3,000 and rent is Rs 7,000. We could never have imagined having this surgery that costs around Rs 25 lakh and lifelong medications that will cost Rs 2 lakh every year,” said Vishwas Jadhav, Monika’s uncle.
Kirit Somaiya currently appointed as vice president of BJP’s Maharashtra unit has been supporting Monika and her family after the accident. He has backed them and made sure that Monika gets all the help she needs. Following up a case for so long of an individual who had suffered for no fault of hers/his, Kirit Somaiya has set an example for others.