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Karachi

June 15, 2015

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Lasting pain, and no relief in sight

Karachi
For years, 43-year-old Mohammad Farhan has been in constant pain and being carried in ambulances and admitted to emergency rooms in Karachi’s hospitals has become all too common for him.
“I was well and doing a full-time job. But then I began experiencing palpitations,” he told The News.
“The pain and the symptoms were unbearable to a point where I couldn’t continue working for more than a few hours at a time.”
Doctors were unable to diagnose Farhan’s peculiar symptoms and his condition kept deteriorating
“I left my job at gold factory in Karachi and was evicted by my landlord for not paying the rent.”
Farhan family is among thousands others in the country that do not have health insurance that could cover their medical treatment costs. A single disease can change the fate of the entire family. The government has no scheme to assist such families.
Now unemployed and in pain, Farhan’s financial debts are mounting. Farhan has sought help at different hospitals in Karachi, but he is not even in a position to go to the washroom without help.
“I was forced to shift to an apartment which isn’t bog enough fore my family - my wife and four children,” he said
It has been nine years since his painful condition developed.
Medical tests at the Aga Khan University Hospital show that the enzyme levels in Farhan’s body are very high. He underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure to determine whether or not he had a heart condition.
“No heart problems were found and I was then transferred to the brain and nerve clinic, where doctors found that I suffer from a variety of problems including enlargement of the ventricles, a slipped disc and herniated back pain,” he said.
Doctors prescribed a large set of medicines that Farhan takes regularly, but still the pain did not improve.
“They eventually told me that my pain was psychosomatic and referred me to a psychiatric clinic, where I

was given anti-depressants.”
To make matters worse, one of his daughters, 16-year-old Aleena, suffered from fever a few months ago. When initial treatments by doctors failed to cure her, he took Aleena to the doctors at the Aga Khan Hospital, where after a string of tests, doctors diagnosed her with disk slip too.
Zaba Begum, Farhan’s wife, is also suffering from disk slip for the last six years. The family said they had already spent all their savings on treatment.

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