As doctors in Pune performed India’s first ever uterus transplant, we bring you the milestone surgeries in India’s medical history. While the country has been slightly behind the world average of organ transplants, it’s emerging an efficient and qualitative medical destination for western population.
Most commonly transplanted organ is kidney followed by lungs, pancreas and heart. With the advances in medical field, India has been performing complex surgeries like intestine, uterus and hand which are performed in last 4-5 years.
Dr P Venugopal, ex-director and former head of cardiothoracic centre at AIIMS performed the first ever heart transplant surgery on August 4, 1994.
Dr Venugopals claim to fame, Devi Ram, a middle aged heavy industry worker, survived for 15 more years. Amidst criticism from the fraternity and media, it was being said that Ram won’t survive for more than three months, he eventually succumbed to brain tumor.
The doctors who performed the surgery were very anxious about the results and didn’t celebrate the procedure immediately after.
The first, successful kidney transplant of the world, between living patients was performed on December 23, 1954, at Brigham Hospital for which Dr Joseph Murray received a Nobel Prize. It took India 11 years to perform the surgery which was undertaken at King Edward Memorial Hospital at Mumbai in May 1965. Family of a cadaver donor gave away his kidneys in a non-renal failure patient who had had hypernephroma (The most common type of kidney cancer).
Sanjay Kandasamy from Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu underwent a liver transplant as an 18-month-old child in November 1998 at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi. Born with a rare condition known as Biliary Atresia, (seen in 1 in 12,000 babies) Sanjay’s liver had no connection with the intestine so the bile produced in the liver couldnt be excreted and therefore damaged the liver.
While there is no specific documentation of the first pancreas transplantation of the country, first recipient worldwide was a 28-year-old woman at University Hospitals, University of Minnesotain 1962.
Almost 50 years later, a team of doctors from Pune carried out states first combined pancreas-kidney transplant.
The recipient, a 28-year-old management professional was suffering from type I diabetes for 18 years and was dependent on insulin shots to control blood sugar.
While the simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant was common in western countries by then, it was still rare in India. Doctors in fact said there couldn’t be more than seven to eight surgeries which could’ve taken place in the country.
Bedridden throughout 2011, Mumbai woman Jayashree Mehta was the first Mumbai resident in the country to undergo lung transplant. Mehta’s lungs had thickened to an extent that she needed external oxygen supply, as much as nine liters, to keep her alive.
However, after roaming with an oxygen cylinder for a year, she underwent a complex 12-hour long surgery at Hindus hospital Mumbai for fresh breath of life.
Intestinal transplant surgery, which could have saved the life of Delhi’s bus gang rape victim, was done for the first time in India over a month ago at Medanta — The Medicity, when a team of 30 doctors successfully gave Himanshu Singh, 30, a healthy small intestine from a cadaver donor on November 24.
Since 60% of intestinal transplants fail because of high infection and jettison of the transplanted organ, the hospital waited to announce the results till the patient had recovered. All earlier attempts at transplanting intestines have failed in India.
“This is the first time an intestinal transplant has been accomplished. This has given a new hope not only to India, but also, to this part of the world,” said Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman managing director of Medanta.
India’s first successful double hand transplant was done in Kochi two years ago. Over 20 surgeons at the Amrita Insititute of Medical Sciences conducted the complex surgery that went on for 16 hours on the 30-year-old man who had lost his hands while protecting a woman.
Manu, the recipient, objected to a group of men harassing women and was pushed off the train. He lost both his hands in the incident but now can write with his new hands. The total cost, Rs 15 lakh of the operation was borne by the hospital.