A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

Nepal, Burn Patient Story
November 11, 2021
ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus for hours to get their injured baby to an emergency room that is often ill equipped to care for the child. To get to a better hospital, some sell their land, take out a loan—sometimes both. They leave the small comforts of their own homes and their jobs for weeks at a time and sleep on the hospital floor next to their child. And some parents are abandoned by their spouses, because it is too much. Too much pain, too much sacrifice, too hard to see their child disfigured.

Although these struggles are representative of many in the developing world where medical care is scarce, all of these specific hardships happened to Basanti, a brave 22-year-old mother of two young children from Rolpa, Nepal.

A normal day turned tragic more than a year ago when Basanti returned from fetching water for the family’s dinner. She found that her eight-month-old son Bishal had fallen into the cooking fire and was screaming; all other family members were in the fields harvesting. Basanti was in shock, but she wrapped her baby in blankets and ran for care. Unfortunately, she had to travel more than six hours to seek emergency care for him at the closest hospital. No one in the village or at the local health post knew what to do —and even the district hospital could only stabilize him and did not treat his wounds properly.

As a result, his little fingers contracted into a fist as the burned skin “healed,” making it impossible for him to use his hand. His cheek, lips and eyelid also contracted and tightened, threatening his vision. After selling part of their farm to pay for transportation to Kathmandu, Basanti sought further treatment for her baby. However, two hospitals in the nation’s capital could not help either, and his condition worsened.

Finally, she heard of free surgical care available through ReSurge. Dr. Shankar Rai, ReSurge’s outreach director in Nepal, and his team restored Bishal’s eyelid, and his hand will soon be repaired. Bishal is one of the lucky ones, even though it took more than a year for him to get appropriate treatment. Thousands of other children never get the care they need to live a normal life after a disabling burn.

Basanti continues to care for Bishal and his 4-year-old sister, but does so alone, as her husband abandoned their family. Basanti knows she is all her children have at this point. Her dream is to have Bishal healed and both of her children well-educated—and she pursues that dream fiercely, despite her hardships. She labors hard at the brick kiln and on neighboring farms to provide for them, while Dr. Rai and ReSurge help with her son’s care.

“Basanti says that she will never abandon her children. She is going to take care of them, because she loves her children and is willing to do whatever it takes,” said Dr. Rai, who was touched by her tenacity, integrity and courage. “She is a very brave mother and there are not very many people like her in society,” continued Rai. “I think society runs and maintains its integrity because of people like Basanti. If everyone were like her husband, then society would disintegrate. We are honored we can provide some support to her through surgery.”

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