Surat (Gujarat): Six-year-old Sifa has never experienced physical pain. Even when she gets hurt, Sifa does not feel any pain. She is suffering from what, in medical terms, is called “Congenital Insensitivity to Pain” – a rare condition in which a person cannot feel (and has never felt) physical pain.
Sifa, who currently studies in grade three, is the daughter of Mohsin Pathan, a resident of Rustampura. Sifa has suffered close to 30 small injuries to date. In one case, she also had to get stitches done. However, she never complained of feeling any pain.
According to doctors treating her, Sifa has a condition that has no cure. Dr. Shakti, a medical officer at the Old Civil Hospital, who has been treating her for 3 years, claims that Sifa is the only person in India to have this rare condition. There are only 20 such patients in the world.
Smiled after birth
Sifa’s father said that she surprised everyone when she started to smile rather than cry when she was born. Her condition is not akin to numbness in or a paralysis of any part of her body. Sifa can discriminate all types of sensations except that of pain. According to Dr. Pradnya Gadgil, a consultant pediatrician and neurologist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, her condition can be due to a problem with the sensory nerves. These special kinds of nerves may not be able to send pain signatures to the brain.
Fracture was discovered a month later
When Sifa was eight months old, she had a fracture in her left hand. But nobody knew it for one and a half months. When her parents noticed that the movement of her hands was abnormal, they took her to a hospital where an X-ray revealed that she had broken a bone. Similarly, at age three, an iron rod pierced her hand. She lost a lot of blood and the doctors had to stitch up the wound but Sifa did not shed a single tear.