Dismissing growing speculation in the media, Arfa Karim Randhawa’s father said on Monday that his daughter was being treated in an ‘excellent’ and ‘professional ‘ manner at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Lahore.
Arfa, the youngest certified Microsoft professional in the world, suffered cardiac arrest on December 22, and has been under treatment at the CMH since, where she is on life support. The cardiac arrest in turn led to a ‘global brain injury’ – a term used to indicate damage that spreads through the entire brain due to lack of oxygen.
“We are committed to making all efforts to provide Arfa the best medical attention possible,” said Dr Wasim Wali, a neuro-physician at the hospital.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Wali, who is leading a team of doctors treating Arfa, said the treatment being provided for her condition was on a par with international medical practices. He added that the doctors at CMH were in regular consultation with other specialists. However, he emphasised that the child prodigy is still in a critical condition.
“All medical experts in the field are on board regarding Arfa’s treatment,” Dr Wali said.
“My daughter is receiving ‘universal and unanimous’ treatment, which is standard for anyone in her condition,” said Lt Col Randhawa. He added that the medical care provided to Arfa at this stage did not require any surgical intervention. When asked about recent reports in the media regarding requests for shifting her to Sheikh Zayed Hospital, he replied that she was not in a condition to be shifted anywhere. He said doctors such as Nadir Zafar, who currently heads the neurology department at Sheikh Zayed Hospital, were also on board and completely satisfied with the treatment given.
Lt Col Randhawa added that Microsoft had also arranged a team which was following Karim’s case closely. He said their team of doctors had studied the reports and expressed satisfaction. He added, “This is not a recent development, the Microsoft team has been in continuous consultation for a while now”.
However, he underlined that “Up until the point Arfa starts breathing on her own, we can assume no significant improvement in her condition”, while saying he was thankful for the support and concern extended by everyone. “This is not a political issue; it’s about a young child who along with medical care needs prayers and good wishes”.
Arfa’s father added: “Usually the chances of recovery are less, but Arfa has always been an extraordinary child; God willing, she will get through this too”.
Though Arfa has, for the past several years, been in the spotlight for her recognition as a tech prodigy, she has also lived a regular 16-year-old’s life.
Arfa was Head Girl at Lahore Grammar School’s Paragon campus. Her principal, Salman Yasin, told The Express Tribune: “She was extremely excited when Atif Aslam performed at the school – she is just like any child her age and we must keep that in mind”.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.