24 September 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
In the wee hours of Thursday, a bevy of doctors at the civic–run KEM Hospital came out of the operation theatre with a sense of triumph. The reason was a successful liver transplanted from father to a son in a public hospital, the first ever in the state.
Ulhas was suffering from end–stage liver disease after he developed autoimmune hepatitis, a condition where the body’s own immune system attacks the liver cells. Employed with a firm in Pune, Ulhas had to let go of his career after his recurrent illness saw him hospitalised at Parel’s KEM Hospital for the last two years. Months before the transplant he had slipped into pre–coma situation several times due to liver failure.
Post surgery, his younger brother Rakesh was ecstatic but eagerly waiting for both to regain consciousness. Rakesh said his blood group too had matched with his brother but his father wanted to be the donor. "Doctors said both are doing fine now," he said.
While Shashikant will be back to normalcy in about 7–10 days, Ulhas has to be in hospital for another month.
The transplant involving at least 10 departments of the hospital had seven surgeons, 14 anaesthetists, two hepatologists, radiologist, biochemists, eight nurses and 14 ward boys, working round–the–clock from 10am on Wednesday to 2am on Thursday. About 10 pathologists and pharmacologists were carrying out tests every hour as the surgery ensued. A team of four experts from Delhi including Dr A S Soin, chairman of Medanta Institute of Liver Transplantation, was supervising the surgery.
Dean Dr Sanjay Oak called it a remarkable achievement. "It is a huge step for patients who need a transplant but cannot afford it," he said. The hospital already has four patients waiting for live and 11 for cadaveric liver transplant.
"Transplant involves lot of planning and stringent protocols. We had to be extra cautious as it was our first case," said gastro–intestinal surgeon Dr Chetan Kantharia. Head of department of gastrointestinal surgery Dr Avinash Supe, along with his team, had been planning the surgery for weeks.
The hospital has worked out the cost for a transplant to be around Rs 5–6 lakh, five times lower than a private hospital.
New Lease Of Life
- Liver for transplant can be obtained from two types of donors—cadaveric (brain dead person) and living donor (relative of recipient)
- Once blood group matches, the donor’s liver is thoroughly examined to check for ailments
- Liver functions remain normal even if 70% is removed, provided the rest 30% is healthy
- It’s the only organ that regenerates itself