6-yr-old comes out of coma, thanks to music


Thiruvananthapuram: Doctors attending to six-year-old Radhika at Government Medical College Hospital in Kerala’s Alappuzha district never thought she would make it. But unbelievably, the girl, who was ‘‘completely paralysed in an accident while playing has managed to come out of coma in less than two months, thanks to a steady dose of enchanting music.

    ‘‘I couldn’t believe it,’’ exclaims Dr Girija Mohan, who heads the paediatrics department. It was Dr Mohan’s idea to try music on her. ‘‘She was admitted on May 30 and was put on ventilator for 2-3 days. That improved her breathing but was still comatose. Though we tried all means, there was no further improvement and she was literally like a vegetable. That’s when I thought about ways for neuro-rehabilitation. I searched the Internet and found out literature about music therapy and decided to give it a try.

    ‘‘So besides the medicines, we played melodious songs set in Carnatic music style including her favourite song on Krishna from a Malayalam film — over a headphone throughout the day for a week. We tried that too. Miraculously, she started responding to it and then we shifted to an external speaker by her bedside in the ICU. The kid now can move with the help of a walker and responds to queries,’’ said Dr Mohan.

    The kid’s mother Manju is overjoyed. ‘‘I had no hope but she now tries to recite those songs which she was made to listen to,’’ she said fighting to hold back tears. Her father Raju, a fish monger, who was finding it hard to foot the bills is now hopeful.

    Dr Renjith S Joseph, who assisted Dr Mohan said, ‘‘Recovery in such cases is generally usually extremely remote. The kid was afflicted with quadriplegia, where the patient looses both sensation and control. But what happened to Radhika is just amazing.’’

    The tiny tot was playing with her mother’s shawls when one of them fastened around her throat choking her. In medical terms, its called a ‘choking game where the player derives a kind of pleasant sensation,’’ explained Dr Girija. But when the knot tightens, as in the present case, it can lead to a semi-handing state.