15 October 2010
When Poojani Ameshika was diagnosed with a chronic liver condition, she was six months old. Her parent Ashok and Nirosha Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan couple, were worried for their baby.
"When Poojani was brought to our hospital she was grossly underweight. She had severe jaundice," said Dr Gomathy Narasimhan, senior consultant at Global Hospital, where Poojani underwent the liver transplant. Doctors gave Poojari, 25% chance of survival. But the parents agreed for the transplant and the mother signed the live–related donor form.
The ten–hour surgery was performed by a team led by liver transplant surgeon Dr Mohamed Rela, paediatricians, anaesthesiologists and haepetologists. "Thankfully the surgery was uneventful. We removed about 225 grams of the mother’s liver and transplanted it to the baby. Both these livers will grow," said Dr Rela.
When an organ, such as a liver, a heart or a kidney, is transplanted from the donor to the recipient, the immune system of the recipient triggers the same response against the new organ as it would have to any foreign material, setting off a chain of events that can damage the transplanted organ. This process is called rejection. "The advantage for the baby is that since the donor was her mother, chances of both shortterm– and long–term rejection are low. But she has to be on a small dose of immunosuppressants all her life to prevent the rejection of the organ," he said.
The child’s father, Ashok was visibly happy. "I am very grateful to Global hospital for saving my daughter’s life and also to the Sri Lankan Navy, which bore all the expenses," said Ashok, a sailor with the Sri Lankan Navy.