His colleagues made fun of him when he decided to pursue a career in ‘least popular’ kidney transplant in 1986.
But he went ahead with it, realising the importance of organ transplant in saving lives in the years to come.
Dr Mukut Minz, former head of the department of renal transplant surgery, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), who retired from the post on July 30, shares his journey in popularising the kidney transplant in north India.
He performed 3,400 kidney transplants and six kidney plus pancreas transplants in his career spanning over 36 years.
Dr Minz joined the PGIMER as junior resident in 1980, and became the head of the renal transplant surgery centre in 1989.
“Nobody [doctors] wanted a transplant in those days as results were not good. As a surgeon, you would want to see your patients improving. Isn’t it? But transplant did not excite many,” he said.
“People used to laugh at me when I chose transplantation. Then they made fun of me, but now, almost everybody wants to opt for transplant.”
Talking about his inspiration, he said, “I chose this as I had worked with Dr RVS Yadav, who influenced me. Later I got to interact with big names in the field. So, I made up my mind.”
Dr RVS Yadav was the first one to conduct a kidney transplant at the PGIMER in June 1973. “Though it was less popular during those days, he had the courage to do it. The drugs were primitive, and results were not very good, and the acceptance was not as it is now. But slowly — in 80s when new medicines came — the results began to improve,” said Dr Minz.
He said the first ever successful kidney transplant was conducted in 1984.
“I joined the department in 1986. It was not a separate department then, but a service. Initially, I used to conduct one or two transplants in a month. But by 90s, the number started increasing.”
WENT TO OSLO, SWEDEN TO LEARN CADAVER TRANSPLANT IN 1991
“When I came back, the results started improving and subsequently, the number of transplants also started increasing every year. The number rose from 20 per year in early 1990s to nearly 250 kidney transplants in 2015,” he said.
What kind of change has occurred in the attitude of people towards transplantation? “Things have changed now. Now people willingly come to us to get a transplant. Nobody raises doubts. Earlier, it used to be a scary affair for people. But now, the acceptability among people for donating kidney and undergoing transplant has increased.”
In December 2014, Dr Minz also started conducting pancreas transplant. “By now we have done six kidney and pancreas transplants on type one diabetic patients with kidney failure.”
Dr Mukut Minz started a special intensive care unit (ICU) and operation theatre (OT) dedicated to transplant patients in late 90s. In 2005, the centre was converted into a department of renal transplant surgery.
“It took a long time to establish the department. I started it alone, but now there is a team, ready to take it to greater heights,” he said.
The doctor says he will now either join any city hospital or will become a part of NOTTO (the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation). “But to take time out for my hobbies will be on the top of my list. I love travelling, and will ensure I take time off for it,” he said.