An Indian teenager who sheds her skin every six weeks because of a rare syndrome is going to get life-improving treatment in Europe.
Doctors have diagnosed Shalini Yadav, 16, with Erythroderma, an inflammatory skin disease also known as “red man syndrome.” Her impoverished family couldn’t afford special treatment, leaving her unable to straighten her limbs or walk without the help of a stick.
The condition causes the skin over nearly the entire body to become scaly and flake off. Shalini has shed her skin every 45 days since she was born. Because of that, she must soak in water every hour — night and day — and smear her skin with moisturizer every three hours to prevent drying out and seizing up.
When good Samaritans learned about the girl’s painful existence, they alerted hospitals around the world in an effort to find someone willing to treat her for free. Regional University Hospital and Virgen de la Victoria of Malaga, Spain, answered the call.
Shalini lives in Nowgong, which is in the Chattarpur district of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and will fly to Spain on Saturday for her first treatment.
“I was very excited to learn that we’d be going to Spain,” she said. “I have seen the place in an Indian TV show; now I will actually get to see it.”
“I feel so helpless when I see her skin coming off, causing excruciating pain to my child,” said Shalini’s mother, Devkunwar, adding, “This disease is not killing her, but taking her life bit by bit. We have no idea where to go to and who to consult.”
“It’s really sad because she was not born normally and has scaly skin all over her body,” said the girl’s father, Rajbahadur, who explained, “It is similar to being severely burnt, from the soles of her feet to her head.”
The India-based press agency, Newslions, run by Sanjay Pandey, publicized Shalini’s plight and also helped her family pay for additional expenses.
“I am very grateful for all that the hospital from Spain is offering,” Rajbahadur said. “Without their help and Mr. Pandey’s support, my daughter would never get a shot at leading a normal life.”
“The [idea] is to improve her quality of life so that she can straighten her legs and so on,” Pandey, who is traveling with the family, said. “Doctors say she should be able to walk without a stick after the treatment.”
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