City’s 15th heart transplant surgery exposes several holes in the system

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 29, 2016 00:24 IST

The family of a 50-year-old woman, who was declared brain dead, shifted her from a Vashi hospital to another because the hospital where had been admitted was not registered to do organ retrievals. While the city’s 15th heart transplant took place on Thursday, it also exposed the lacunae in existing organ transplant program in the city.

Rajyoshree Maloo from Kolkata, who had come to Mumbai for her daughter’s wedding, had a stroke at home that led to irreversible brain damage. The family wanted to donate her organs, but had to shift her from Fortis Hospital to MGM Hospital as the former is not registered to perform such retrievals.

The state health department had started registering hospitals as non-organ transplant retrieval centres (NOTRC) where organs can be removed for transplantation. However, Fortis Hospital in Vashi was not registered as an NOTRC also. Maloo was shifted to the other hospital on Wednesday so that tests confirming brain death could be done. “We performed two sleep apnea tests at intervals to confirm her brain death,” said, PK Shashankar, administrator of the hospital.

“The family was willing to donate all her organs but we could retrieve only the heart and liver. The kidneys were not medically fit,” he added.

Though the family was willing to donate her lungs, this could not be done as hospitals in city do not do lung transplants. In 2011, PD Hinduja Hospital in Mahim started the city’s first lung transplant facility which was shut within a few months.

Recently, Fortis Hospital in Mulund and Jupiter Hospital in Thane registered to perform heart and lung transplants but not many efforts have been put to fuel the programme. Two patients are registered for a heart and lung transplant.

The challenge with lung transplants, doctors said, are the complications following the surgery. “The surgery as such is not difficult. The challenge is in identifying patients who can benefit from lung transplant and managing the complications following the surgery,” said, Dr J Amalorpavanathan, convenor, Tamil Nadu’s organ transplant program

Maloo’s heart was retrieved at MGM Vashi and was transported via a green corridor to Fortis Hospital, Mulund. The ambulance ferrying the heart left the hospital 00:20 am and reached within 16 minutes at Mulund where it was transplanted into a 60-year-old woman with heart failure.

Doctors at Fortis Hospital said that the patient is shifted to the intensive care unit following a successful surgery.

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