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Fortis Mohali celebrates Rheumatoid Arthritis patient’s life struggle through motivational wall art

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Mohali, October 31, 2023: For 53-year-old Seema Sood, life had come to a standstill after an attack of Rheumatoid Arthritis rendered her bedridden for many years. Dejected and hopeless, Seema had also petitioned the President for euthanasia (mercy killing). Struck by her plight, Fortis Hospital Mohali management offered her free of cost treatment and Dr Anil Abrol, Consultant, Department of Rheumatology treated her. As Seema’s condition began to improve, she mustered courage and driven by the motto – Don’t give up on life – sought refuge in creative art.

To celebrate her unwavering hope and how she had emerged victorious in the face of adversity, Fortis Hospital Mohali has dedicated a wall on the facility premises for Seema to showcase her paintings. The aim is to sensitise people on Rheumatoid Arthritis, caregiving for patients with this disease and how debilitating diseases are not a deterrent for creativity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues. The condition causes pain, swelling and stiffness in joints, may result in low red blood cell count, and inflammation around the lungs and heart.

Seema is a gold medallist and has graduated from BITS Pilani (Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Rajasthan) with dual degrees – M.Sc in Engineering Technology with 90% and Masters in Engineering with 98%. At 28, her life turned topsy-turvy and she found herself walking with a stick in 2000. Her health condition deteriorated and she was confined to her bed. The real trouble began in 1988 when doctors thought that Seema was suffering from osteoarthritis, but on the contrary, it was rheumatoid arthritis. The incorrect diagnosis contributed to her agony.

In 2005, when Seema’s condition worsened, she was advised joint and hip replacement surgery, costing about Rs 10 lakh. Unable to handle the extreme immobility and high cost of treatment, Seema then petitioned the President of India for euthanasia (mercy killing) in 2007. The then Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal got to know about Seema’s petition and assured that the state government would incur all her medical expenses. Even though she underwent a surgery in 2008, Seema kept experiencing acute pain and discomfort for nearly seven years.

Moved by her condition, the Fortis Mohali management offered her free of cost treatment in 2014 and Dr Anil Abrol, Consultant, Department of Rheumatology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, was able to make a correct diagnosis of her medical condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and treated her for the same. Following extensive treatment, Seema made a swift recovery and her health began to improve. This gave her a new zeal of life and heralded the start of her art journey. “I bought a pack of colours for Rs 10 and a drawing book. My first painting, The Red Rose, was appreciated by one and all. I now have more than 50 paintings to my credit,” said Seema with a joyful glint in her eyes.

On what prompted her to take to painting, Seema, said, “It helps me forget my pain and I’m able to express my inner creativity. My canvas motivates me and I paint to bring joy to myself and to others.”

Meanwhile, lauding the efforts of the Fortis Mohali management, Seema, said, “I had resigned myself to fate but Dr Anil Abrol has transformed by life. I also want to thank the Fortis management, particularly facility director Abhijit Sir for offering me free of cost treatment. It has given me a new hope to live. I also want to thank my batchmates, friends at Pilani and my family for motivating me at all times and lending me support to tide over the crisis.”

All praise for Seema’s determination, Abhijit Singh, Head-SBU, Fortis Hospital Mohali, said, “Seema’s paintings are a celebration of life. She has shown exemplary grit and determination despite undergoing a tough time. I encourage everybody to buy her paintings which will motivate her to do more in life.”

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