This young woman born without a face was told that there was nothing doctors could do to help her.
The 21-year-old, Khadija Khatoon, has lived her whole life with a severe facial deformity, not even knowing if she even have eyes or nose. The young woman, from Kolkata in Eastern India, was born with a facial deformity that has baffled doctors at her local hospital. Her mouth is reduced to just a small slit on the left side of her face.
She was born with thick eyelids and has never been able to view the world.
Doctors told her parents that they were unable to treat the mysterious condition and she has never been given a formal diagnosis. They have suspected that Khadija has been suffering from a severe form of neurofibromatosis, a rare deformity that causes tumours to grow along nerves.
But above all these, she remained happy with her life.
I’m made this way and I accept it graciously. I do what I can. If this is how I’m meant to be then I live with it. It’s not a matter of coping, I just live as I am. My family is my only friend and I love them dearly. My parents are my world. If only the Government would see my position and help me I would like that. I fill my days sitting and thinking, talking to my mother about life and going for walks near my home. I am happy in this life.”
She was born with thick heavy eyelids and she looked different to my other children at birth but we didn’t think anything of it until we realised she couldn’t open her eyes properly. When we took her to the hospital she was admitted for six months and they did lots of tests but doctors eventually told us there was nothing they could do. Because the doctors told us there was nothing they could do we never went back to them. And as Khadija got older she refused any help. Doctors told us when she was a baby that if she attempted surgery she could die, so we have lived with that fear. Now that Khadija is much older she has decided herself that she doesn’t want to have surgery. She doesn’t want to risk dying, according to Her mother, Amina Bibi.
If she’s willing we would need to do a lot of tests to determine how successful surgery would be,” Banerjee suggested.
On the other hand, local government officer, Rupak Dutta, has kind-heartedly took the case to fund raise for a life-changing surgery. He felt compelled to do something after spotting her on the street.
I’d never seen such a face. I have a 13-year-old daughter and I thought what if she was my daughter? I didn’t even notice tears were falling down my cheeks. I have limited sources to help but I thought the power of social networking would surely help so I posted her photo on Facebook.
Mr Dutta is now in talks with local NGOs who will help Khadija meet with specialists to discuss possible surgery.