Two teenagers hit by bullets are battling for life at general specialty SMHS Hospital here while grievous injuries have already rendered the duo paralyzed "waist-below", doctors said on Sunday.
Shani, 19, from south Kashmir's Bijbehara area—falling in home constituency of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti—is admitted at Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) of the SMHS Hospital. She has not been able to move her legs since July 9. Her last walk, according to her relatives, was towards a group of protesting boys shouting slogans in her locality.
"She had just come back home from paddy fields for lunch," her mother told Greater Kashmir. "When she heard people shouting slogans, she ran with a cousin to see where protesters were coming from. Then suddenly there was firing by forces and she, along with her cousin, was injured."
A doctor said bullet had entered Shani's abdomen and exited from her spine causing compression fractures. Now she is off the ventilator, but is still being monitored. The girl is breathing on her own but the extensive abdominal injuries have left her spine with compression fractures that make her paraplegic (lower extremities paralysed) and her intestines badly damaged, the doctor said.
"There is nothing we can do about her spine but we are really worried about the gastric perforations that she has," a doctor treating her said. "Bullet had smashed her entire gastro-intestinal track. A major part of the intestines has been resected."
"She had leaked gastro-intestinal contents and lost blood when she reached us," the doctor said. "It is a miracle that she is alive."
"It has just been a few years since I lost my six-year-old son to an accident. Now it is my daughter who shows no signs of life except her heartbeat," her mother said, and broke down.
Shani has her brother-in-law attending to her as she has no brother of her own. Her aged father is not able to see the daughter motionless.
"I too wish I could run away," her mother says, and sits on the hospital floor.
In Ward 16 of the hospital, 17-year-old Shahid from South Kashmir's Kokernag area has not been able to
sleep for the past 10 days since he realized he could not move his legs. "He is extremely depressed," a psychiatrist told Greater Kashmir. "He is conscious and fully aware of what the bullet has done to him."
This Class 10 student, who was waiting for his results, was 'out' when a massive protest broke out in Kokernag, his father said. The oldest of four siblings, Shahid was "the hope' for his father, a teacher in a private school.
"This is what is left of my 'wealth'," his father said, breaking down in the hospital.
Already having undergone an extensive gut surgery, Shahid has a compression fracture at L4 in spine. "His spine is shattered," a doctor said.
His intestines are yet to recover and start functioning while the doctor declares: "There is injury to his bile duct too."
His father is also lying on the hospital bed and complains of ache in shoulders to the doctor on duty. "The security beat us up when we were carrying Shahid in an ambulance to Srinagar," he said.
Specialists at SMHS Hospital said the lives of the two teenagers are devastated. "Although they are alive and the bullets did not kill them, the injuries are such that they will suffer for a long-long-time," said a senior specialist. "Their lives are gone, nevertheless."