AGARTALA, Jan 16 (IANS) - Doctors in Kolkata have performed a rare operation and saved the life of an 18-year-old Tripura girl who was struck in her left eye by an iron arrow which pierced through 19 cm of the rearmost part of her skull.
According to the girl's family members, the 28 cm arrow abruptly hit Itu Rani Jamatia, a Class 12 student, Jan 6 while she was playing with her younger brother at Bishramganj, some 40 km south of here. The arrow was 4 mm thick.
"The girl was shifted from two hospitals before being moved to Peerless Hospital in Kolkata Jan 7. In a five-hour surgery, neurosurgeons removed the arrow from Rani's eye," Nagendra Jamatia, the girl's relative, told reporters.
A team of doctors, led by renowned neurosurgeon Asis Kumar Bhattacharyya, conducted the complicated operation.
"A part (19 cm) of the 28 cm arrow perforated the medial canthus of the left eye," Bhattacharyya told reporters here Sunday.
Though Rani has lost her vision of the left eye, she is recovering well.
"We are expecting the girl would be normal within six months. She has been taking her meals and slowly walking with the help of nurses. She would be released soon," said Bhattacharyya, director at the National Neurosciences Centre in Kolkata.
"This type of operation was only the sixth successful one in the world and second in India," he said.
According to Jamatia, a veteran tribal leader and former Tripura agriculture minister, the rare surgery was conducted with the help of donations coming from across the state as Rani's poverty-stricken family was unable to bear the cost of treatment.
"Over Rs.700,000, including collections ranging from Rs.1 to Rs.5, was collected from across the state," he said.
The tribals in the hilly terrain of the northeastern states have for generations been keeping arrows and bows to protect themselves from wild animals and to kill birds to eat.
"After Rani's incident, the tribals have started breaking their arrows and bows and started a campaign against killing birds," Jamtia added.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Saturday night visited the tribal girl.