IIT Graduate in US in Vegetative State Since Last 4 Months

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By Seema Hakhu Kachru

HOUSTON: An Indian-American engineering student, critically injured in a road accident in the US state of Texas, has been lying at a rehabilitation centre here in a vegetative state for four months, and his family has set up an online fundraiser to help cover costs of his long-term care.

Akshay Jain, 22, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury on November 30 when his car collided with a pick-up truck when he and his four friends were returning home after their Thanks Giving break in New Orleans.

His four friends were soon released from the hospital after being treated for their injuries.

But ever since the tragic accident, Akshay has undergone a series of surgeries and therapies, and he still remains in a vegetative state, reliant on feeding and tracheotomy tubes, his family told PTI.

“It is hard to see a young high-achiever in this condition as the accident has crashed all his dreams,” said his brother- in-law Gagan Parakh.

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Akshay may have lasting problems with his movement, learning, or speaking, his family fear.

At the rehabilitation where he was moved recently after a series of surgeries at Memorial Hermann Hospital, doctors are working out on various therapies – physical, speech, language, occupational and counselling.

Treatment is focused both on brain as well as body. However, the fight against unconsciousness is still on.

“It is a long-term treatment and as a family we are taking it one day at a time. In the last one month we have moved back and forth between TIRR (rehabilitation centre) to Memorial Hermann three times,” said Akshay’s mother, who has been at his side since the accident.

After his treatment at the rehabilitation centre is completed, Akshay will be moved to a nursing home where only 15-20 days of coverage is available and then family plans to take him back to India if he remains unable to go back to school and finish his studies.

With Akshay’s medical insurance expiring in August, the family has set up an online fundraiser at YouCaring.Com to help cover costs of long-term care.

Akshay’s family is very thankful to doctors, nurses and the Indian-American community for their assistance and help.

Consul General of India, Houston, Parvataneni Harish visits Akshay at the rehab every week to make sure everything is being taken care of and that his mother, who speaks only Hindi, does not faces any linguistic issues.

Akshay graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar in 2014. He moved to US to pursue a Phd in chemical engineering soon after his graduation.

His innovative engineering designs has been recognised with the Director’s Silver Medal and the Award for Outstanding Research.

“We have been told by University that if required, they can explore possibility to extend his visa and insurance for one more year after Aug’15 2015, but this is something not confirmed,” Parakh said.