2 MAY 2015 ¦ KATHMANDU – When Nepal’s devastating April 25 earthquake hit, Nanda Thami was safe.
The forty-two-year-old resident of Phopa Chaku, a small village in Dolakha district east of Kathmandu, was in an open space, away from the mud-brick structures dotted throughout his village.
His five-year-old son Gopal, however, remained in the family’s home as the earthquake’s aftershocks continued with terrifying frequency.
Nanda rushed into the house to rescue the boy, who is now safe and sustained only minor injuries. As the family’s home collapsed, however, Nanda bore a share of the structure’s weight.
He now lies in a bed in the foyer of Bir Trauma Centre, Kathmandu’s primary critical care provider, and cannot move from the shoulders down. His head remains in a fixed position.
According to Nanda’s nephew Kumar, in the quake’s aftermath members of the village banded together to take Nanda to the district headquarters of Charikot, where he was able to hitch a ride with local police to Kathmandu to seek medical care.
“Our village is 4 hours from the district center. We carried him and brought him to the district headquarters and the police arranged a vehicle and brought us here,” Kumar said.
Though Nanda’s condition is stable, the spinal cord injuries he sustained provide challenges for medical service providers.
Among the estimated 14 000 injuries incurred as a result of the April 25 earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and has so far resulted in 6200 recorded fatalities, approximately 1 in 3 (or around 4700) will require follow-up rehabilitation treatment. Of this number, approximately 12 percent have damage to their spinal cord.