A comatose toddler, on ventilator for the past three weeks, regained consciousness on Sunday after reportedly hearing his mother’s recorded voice as part of a music therapy intervention.
When Kapil was brought to J K Lon’s paediatric hospital last week, he was battling for survival. Multiple ailments — high blood pressure, respiratory problems and brain haemorrhage — had pushed the two-and-a-half-year-old into a coma.
The music therapy intervention — in which his mother spoke to him in the local Dhundhari dialect of Jaipur — was a last ditch effort to restore the child’s cognitive abilities.
While the doctors have not been able to delineate the effect of the mother’s voice — from the effects of the drug therapy — in the child’s recovery, his parents are convinced that Kapil responded to his mother’s lullabies.
“All the doctors who had treated him before he was brought here were quite qualified. So it was clear that drug therapy, on its own, had been exhausted,” said Dr Ashok Gupta, hospital superintendent.
A seven-member team led by Dr Gupta decided to try music therapy, in addition to tracheostomy and oxygen therapy. “Music acts as stimulus on the pineal gland and releases melatonin which improves cognitive functioning,” said Dr Gupta.
After using soothing devotional songs for four days, the team decided to use the recorded voice of his mother.
“The recordings were of his mother calling out to him in the local dialect. I wouldn’t call it a miracle, but it was amazing to see the child responding to the treatment,” said Dr Gupta.
Balbir, Kapil’s father, said: “He started showing signs of recovery after listening to his mother’s voice. Perhaps the medicines are working too… but we tried all possible medical treatment earlier too… maybe God wanted him to recover this way.”