External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj underwent a “successful” kidney transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Saturday morning.
“The surgery was successful and there were no complications. The minister and the donor have been kept under observation,” AIIMS director Dr MC Mishra said.
The 64-year-old minister was admitted to the hospital on November 7 with kidney failure and was undergoing dialysis.
A 50-member team consisting of surgeons, anaesthetists and critical care specialists, performed the nearly six-hour-long surgery. Swaraj and the donor were shifted to the ICU in the cardiothoracic centre after they recovered from general anaesthesia, AIIMS said.
After the surgery, President Pranab Mukherjee wished the Union minister a speedy recovery. “You have forever been a fighter and I am sure it is only a matter of time before you are back at the helm..,” he said in a letter to Swaraj.
On November 16, Swaraj had tweeted that she was admitted to AIIMS because of kidney failure and was undergoing tests for transplantation. The hospital conducted the necessary tests to find a donor match for the minister. Swaraj’s daughter wanted to donate her kidney but was found to be medically unfit.
The eventual donor was not related to the minister and clearances had to be obtained from an authorisation panel before the surgery. To prevent organ trafficking, India’s Transplantation of Human Organs Act allows transplantation surgeries only in government-registered hospitals with only near-relatives, such as the father, mother, brother, sister, children or spouse allowed to be the living donor.
Cadaver and altruistic donations, like the one in Swaraj’s case, are allowed only after an authorisation committee— which has a government representative — gives its clearance after ensuring that the donor is not forced or paid.
Over 1.5 lakh people suffer end-stage kidney failure in India each year and need a transplant, but barely 3,500 find donors.