07 December 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Live Transplants To Stop For Month
KEM Hospital’s infection committee will conduct tests in the gastroenterology post-operative ward to check if a 53-year-old liver donor died after getting an infection there on Sunday. Dean Dr Sanjay Oak told TOI: "We have set protocols which have been adopted. The panel will look into the case."
The country’s most affordable liver transplant programme at KEM suffered a setback with the death of recipient and donor, officials and health experts felt.
Sindhu Waikar, who had donated part of her liver to her son, Rahul, 33died on Sunday. Rahul died five days after the November 3 surgery.
The death of a live donor is considered one of the worst outcomes. KEM has decided to stop live donor transplants for about a month, said Dr Chetan Kantharia, head of surgical gastroenterology at KEM and in-charge of the liver transplant programme.
"We will lie low for some time as our team is demoralized," he said. Rahul, from Pune, had liver failure for about a year. Sindhu was ready to donate her liver. Rahul never regained consciousness after surgery and died five days later.
"The doctors had explained that such surgery carries a high risk for the recipient. What we were not ready for was a risk to the donor too," said Sandip, Rahul’s brother. He claimed that the doctors told them that the donor had only a 1% risk.
Sindhu was admitted to the ICU for four days post-surgery and was then shifted to the general ward. This, the family felt, was a mistake. Dr Kantharia said, "She was walking on her own for a few days. She developed pneumonia and respiratory problems. Had there been a problem, she would have showed symptoms sooner."
KEM’s transplant programme was started six months ago.
What Went Wrong?
- With recipient, there may be many causes of death. Most likeliest is unacceptability of transplanted liver
- Doctors claim donor deaths, however, are rare (around one in 300 surgeries)
- Donor may die of liver insufficiency (failure) or blood clot in lungs
- However, since death came many days after surgery, experts feel only possible reason is infection causing pneumonia, respiratory problems and, in turn, death