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Times of India
03 July 2010
Chennai, India

Accident Victim Saves Life, Egyptian Gets Indian Heart
When Hakim, a 43–year–old lawyer from Egypt flew down to Chennai on June 9 to mend his ailing heart, he never thought that he would be flying back with an Indian heart.

Doctors at Frontier Lifeline gave a new lease of life to the Egyptian on June 30, thanks to the magnanimity of the relatives of a 52–year–old man who had died in a road accident.

The Egyptian’s heart was was failing despite a coronary artery bypass he had undergone in 2007. He came to the city on June 9 hoping to have another surgery, but in the last week of June he was waitlisted for a transplant. On Friday, he was smiling from the intensive care unit of the hospital, with a new heart beating in his chest.

The heart was harvested at Stanley Medical College and brought to Frontier Lifeline in a record 19 minutes in peak hour traffic as the traffic police arranged a green corridor at 7.20pm. A team of doctors led by Dr Prasanth Vaijayanth did the transplant at 7.30pm on Wednesay.

According to law, an organ can be tranplanted into a foreigner only if there is no Indian recepient during the window period after the organ is harvested.

On Wednesday, when doctors at Stanley Medical College delcared an accident victim braindead, the cadaver transplant registry called every registered transplant hospital in the city and the country. "No one had an Indian patient on their waitlist," said Dr J Amalorpavanthan.

While the absence of an Indian recipient that came as a boon to the Egyptian, the state’s cadaver transplant programme has come under criticism as hospitals licensed to do transplants have failed to prepare and update waiting lists of patients. Though nearly a dozen hospitals in the city are licensed to do heart transplants, the number of patients waitlisted for heart tranplants was less than 20.

"Less than 20% of patients with heart failure qualify for a transplant due to medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension," said Dr Saravana Ganesh, who was part of the transplant team. The hospital which sees thousands of patients has less than 20 patients who require a heart transplant on their waitlist.

"The patient is stable now. He will be here for another week. We will be in touch with his physician in Egypt for follow up," said Dr Saravanan.

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