Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

How would a child react when he/she learns that he has only a few days left in his life? Children are sensitive and don’t have much knowledge about life and death. Even it is difficult to speculate the reactions of children when they learn that their life is about to end. 

Here we bring an emotional story of a 6-year-old boy, his parents, and a doctor that will certainly fill your eyes with tears and make your heart heavy. 

A few days earlier, Dr Sudhir Kumar, a Neurologist at Apollo Hospital in Hyderabad shared a thread of Tweets narrating the story of the 6-year-old lad, who had been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme grade 4 in the left side of his brain. This ailment had paralysed his right hand and leg. 

Dr Kumar started the story of Manu (real identity hidden) by writing: 6-yr old to me: "Doctor, I have grade 4 cancer and will live only for 6 more months, don't tell my parents about this"

Kumar continued, “It was another busy OPD day, when a young couple walked in. They had a request "Manu is waiting outside. He has cancer, but we haven't disclosed that to him. Please see him and advise your treatment, and don't share the diagnosis with him.”

As Dr Kumar said, he nodded his head accepting their request. Later, Manu was brought in on a wheelchair. He was referred by his oncologist for management of seizures. He had a smile and appeared confident and smart. 

On reviewing history and medical records, it was found that Manu had been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme grade 4 in the left side of the brain, due to which he had paralysis of his right hand and leg. He had been operated on and was on chemotherapy. Seizures were due to brain cancer.

“I discussed the medical treatment with parents and answered a few queries. They were about to leave, when Manu requested his parents to allow him to talk to me in private. Parents accepted his request,” wrote Kumar.

After parents left the room to wait outside, Manu said- "Dr, I have read all about the disease on iPad and I am aware that I will live only for 6 more months but I haven't shared this with my parents, as they would get upset. They love me a lot. Please don't share with them"

“I was shocked and couldn't speak for a few moments. I gathered myself- "sure, I will take care of what you said," Kumar’s Tweet read.

Later, Dr Kumar called his parents and requested them to talk with him while Manu was waiting outside. He shared the entire conversation with the couple that took place between him and Manu.

“I couldn't keep the promise to Manu, as it was important to bring the family on the same page on this sensitive issue. It was vital that the family enjoyed together, whatever time was left. More so, as Manu knew about his illness. Whether he understood the gravity, I am unsure,” wrote the doctor.

Manu’s parents were in tears but they were still thankful and left the OPD with a heavy heart. 

“I had almost forgotten this incident when about 9 months later, the couple returned to see me. I recognized them at once and enquired about Manu's health,” wrote Kumar.

However, Manu’s parents said, "Doctor, we had a great time with Manu after we met you. He wanted to visit Disneyland and we went with him. We took temporary leave from job and spent quality time with Manu. We lost him a month back. Today's visit is to just thank you for giving us those best 8 months."