Quake-led paraplegics on way to self-reliance ISLAMABAD: Hope is the only source of survival for bed-ridden Shaheen, 26, who is fighting hard for the last one year at a rehabilitation centre in the capital to fade away the physical and psychological scars left on her by the October 8th▓s massive earthquake.

Belonging to Bagh, Azad Kashmir, and married with

two kids, Shaheen is one among the hundreds of paraplegic

patients ≈ those with paralysed lower half ≈ who suffered severe spinal cord injuries and nerve

lesions following the earth-quake.

With a limited ability to move now, Shaheen was as much normal and active as she was moments before being buried under the debris of her house when the earthquake struck her mountain town. After her initial treatment at a make-shift hospital, she was transferred to a hospital in the capital in a helicopter for further treatment but doctors could not help more than curing her other wounds.

Because of her inability to move, she was moved to the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of the National Institute for Handicapped for minimising her dependency on others by adapting specially devised therapeutic codes for the rehabilitation of such patients.

The centre with 100-bed facility was set up in March this year when a rush of spine-injured patients was witnessed as the most common disability following the devastated earthquake. Among the 150,000 injured that were treated in various public health facilities, more than 713 amputations and 730 spinal cord injuries were registered.

⌠When I became paralysed, I thought it was the end of my life especially in a society where disability is not easily taken,■ Shaheen said while struggling to rise in her bed by putting stress on her elbows instead of lifeless hands.

⌠But with continuous physiotherapy and learning the basic knowledge on how to deal with my disability, I have started making improvements.■

Among the 67 other female paralysed patients at the centre, Shaheen is undergoing treatment by physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists, working in addition to doctors, for her care and rehabilitation.
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