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Times of India
20 February 2009
By Malathy Iyer
Mumbai, India

Help at Last: Raghunath Kathuria with his wife
Help at Last: Raghunath Kathuria with his wife
Chembur resident Raghunath Kathuria could not help but flash a toothy smile after removing the surgical mask. The 62–year–old has a reason to be happy: after suffering from liver cirrhosis for three years, he finally got a ‘New’ liver on Republic Day. The family of a 57–year–old man, who succumbed to brain haemmorhage, gave the gift of life to three patients, including Kathuria, in the form of two kidneys and a liver.

What makes Kathuria’s case special is the fact that he received a full liver from a brain–dead (cadaver) donor as against a partial liver that patients can get from a live donor. “For me, the donor is an angel,” said the civil engineer at Wockhardt Hospital in Mulund on Thursday.

Given the paucity of cadaveric donors in Mumbai (and India), Kathuria’s transplant is special, said Dr S Mathur, liver transplant surgeon at Wockhardt. “Mumbai received five deceased or brain–dead donors in January, a record for the city which witnessed only seven donations in 2008. However, there was only one liver donation this year (as against 10 kidney donations),” said Dr Mathur, adding that the city needed to ensure at least three liver donations every month to build an organ pool that would help liver–failure patients.

Physician Aabha Nagral said there was a need to spread awareness about donations of both kidneys and liver from brain–dead persons. “If families are ready to donate kidneys of their loved ones, they would have no reservation about donating liver as well,” she said.

Mumbai lags behind Delhi in liver transplants. While Delhi has almost 400 liver transplants to its credit, Mumbai has only 30–odd. “Using Kathuria’s case, we want to highlight that Mumbai has the necessary knowhow. People need not go out of town for it,” said Dr Mathur.

Kathuria was advised to go to Delhi for a transplant. “I have lived and worked in Mumbai. I was sure I would find the right treatment here,” said Kathuria.

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