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Former gymnast fighting for life in Kolkata

Kolkata: A former gymnast and judge in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Soumita Dey is now fighting for her life at a city nursing home.

Kolkata: A former gymnast and judge in the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, Soumita Dey is now fighting for her life at a city nursing home.

     Down with Neurosarcoidosis since 2012, 27-year-old Dey now cannot even move her legs, with the lower half of her body affected by paralysis.

     After representing Bengal at the national level for almost a decade (from 1998 to 2008), Soumita took to coaching in 2005.

     She completed the sports coaches training at Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala in 2008 and was selected for judging at New Delhi's CWG.

     "Life was all fine and I was looking forward to starting MPed in August, 2012 when suddenly life came to a halt," Soumita told PTI from her bed at nursing home.

     Initially, the former gymnast from Bengal had faced urinary-related complications, for which she was treated at a local hospital, Soumita's mother Soma Dey said.

     But within two days of receiving primary treatment, her condition worsoned after which she lost the strength of walking, Soma said.

     "Then we took her to SSKM where the doctors said that she was affected by bone-TB and they started the treatment. But with not much improvement, we brought her home and started consulting a neurologist at Bandel," she said.

     The neurologist could not do much for Soumita either and after that she was taken to Bangalore-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

     "I was not affected by bone-TB. That was a wrong diagnosis. My health improved a lot after treatment at the NIMHANS. I also regained the power of walking. But coming back home and after consuming tablets for 25 days as prescribed by NIMHANS my health condition deteriorated so much that again I was hit by paralysis in my legs. I lost all my hair and developed swellings all over, she alleged.

     Stating her condition to be "critical" cardiologist Dr Shantunu Dalal, who is treating Soumita at a city medical facility, said, "Hers is a case of drug-induced pancytopenia. Her blood count has gone down drastically, her hemoglobin level is as low as five besides a decreased platelets-level."

The cardiologist said that Soumita had been suffering
from "gram-negative septicemia" and that there had been recurring blood loss from different parts of her body.

     "This is quite a critical condition and there are chances of infections. She is undergoing pulse therapy and we are hoping for the best. Now she requires high anti-biotic, RBC replacement and WBC replacement which is quite an expensive matter," he said.

     The mother said that after spending an amount of around Rs six lakh for her daughter's treatment, she ran short of money and pleaded for help, but regretted that the plea fell on deaf years.

     "We have sold the only piece of land we had and my jewellery to meet the expenses. We have nothing left to support her medical bills but repeated requests to several people have fallen on deaf ears," she said.

     Hailing from a humble family in Hooghly district's Bashberia, with her father owing a jewellery shop, Soumita started gymnastics when she was only six.