A 38-year-old man from Borivli has become the first person in the city to be listed for a pancreas transplant, said the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC) which coordinates organ transplants among hospitals.
After the patient, Hemant Gandhi — a project manager working in Dubai — went into coma in 2002, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. It is a condition in which, the pancreas, an organ located near the stomach, does not produce enough insulin, leading to uncontrolled sugar levels in the body.
Although Gandhi recovered in a couple of days, he said that over the years, the ordeal of daily insulin jabs, blurry vision and weight gain has been a traumatizing experience. “What is surprising is that I have no family history of diabetes. My condition continued to deteriorate after going into coma,” said Gandhi.
He added, “My body was retaining excess water and my weight increased from the usual 82 kilogram to 105 kilogram.”
While Gandhi was put on dialysis, the doctors treating him said that over the years, the diabetes had let to the failure of both his kidneys. “The sugar level in his blood fluctuated uncontrollably which damaged his kidneys. It also led to retinopathy which made his vision blurry,” said Dr Bharat Shah, consultant nephrologist, Global Hospital, Parel. “His mother turned out to be a match and donated one of her kidneys,” added the doctor.
Gandhi underwent a kidney transplant on December 26, and was registered for pancreatic transplant two weeks before that. Doctors said that in his case, a pancreatic transplant is required urgently to prevent damage to his new kidney.
“In type one diabetes patients, a pancreatic transplant is required along with the kidney transplant. The new pancreas will produce insulin immediately and will control his sugar levels. With this, the complications related to diabetes will be solved,” said Dr Somnath Chattopadhyay, consultant, hepato pancreato biliary and transplant surgery. He added that so far, only one such transplant has been done in Maharashtra.
While there have been donations in the last two weeks, the doctors have not found a suitable organ yet. “On December 22, we received the pancreas of a brain-dead patient for a transplant. But, on further examination, the organ was found unfit for the procedure,” the doctor added.
Meanwhile, as Gandhi recuperates in the Intensive Care Unit at Global Hospital, Parel, he prays that he finds a donor soon. “Every day, I wait for one call, telling me that there is a donor available,” he said.