Young mother with brain injury gets new lease on life
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A very happy Parbattie Austin following her successful surgery
A very happy Parbattie Austin following her successful surgery

By Nafeeza Yahya

PARBATTIE “Ravina” Austin, 43, was full of praise when Guyana Chronicle visited her at the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI), Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, where she underwent a brain aneurysm surgery done by Guyana’s lone neurosurgeon, Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi and team on Thursday.

Austin, of Overwinning Village, East Bank Berbice, was diagnosed with a
ruptured brain aneurysm in September 2019, but had difficulties acquiring the funds to finance the procedure. However, after a public appeal, she was able to acquire the funds needed, thanks to a number of benevolent donors, including the Ministry of Public Health.

Speaking to Guyana Chronicle on Saturday, an emotional Austin expressed appreciation to the donors who helped to save her life.

“I didn’t feel a thing. I have no side effects. I was told it was two aneurysms and I am very happy that Dr. Dukhi was able to treat both; so I have no fear that I am back to my normal self. I feel like me again! I am ready to go home to play with puppies and see my kids and be me… I am doing well; really well! Thank you to everyone,” she beamed. She was discharged from the hospital on Saturday afternoon.

Dr. Dukhi told reporters he is confident that Austin will move on to lead a normal life.  He said that during the procedure, a second aneurysm was found. It was also stented and coiled, at no additional cost.

“Brain aneurysm is something new to Guyana… it’s here now and it’s here
to stay; where no other Guyanese should die from a brain aneurysm that
is captured and diagnosed early. We have ways and means of treating
them, so the fatality rate should go down. Both of those aneurysm were
done and it should have been at an extra cost to Ms. Parbattie but
because of all that she has gone through, we have taken that cost away
and Neuro Spine Services Inc is going to absorb that cost,” he said.

The treatment for the ruptured brain aneurysm is called an endovascular stenting and coiling which is not offered in the public health system.
However, in Austin’s case, the Public Health Ministry did not hesitate to assist financially towards the life-saving procedure.

“Our main aim is to have our patients back on their feet so they could be able to lead a normal life and I am very keen in seeing Ms Parbattie go back to what she used to do and to the things that made her happy. I knew before surgery she was somewhat depressed and anxious and now she is totally more confident in moving forward,” Dr. Dukhi related.
In September, Austin was about to start working at a booth at the Berbice Expo when she suddenly started shaking and collapsed.
She was picked up in an unconscious state and taken to the Port Mourant Hospital where doctors told relatives her blood pressure was extremely high and she was in a comatose state.
The family, after realising her condition did not change after two days, moved her to a private facility in Berbice. A CT scan done there indicated that she was bleeding in the brain.

Austin was transferred to the New Amsterdam Hospital and then
the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation some eight days later
where she regained consciousness.

At the GPHC, Austin met with neurosurgeon, Dr. Amarnauth Dukhi, who
diagnosed her with a ruptured brain aneurysm. She said he explained
that her condition was critical and should she suffer a second
aneurysm, it could potentially be fatal. Given the outpouring of public
and private support, the mother of four is extremely happy to
return home alive and happy.

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