PGI’s first live donor liver recipient dies
Six-year-old Suraj, the first patient at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) to get a liver transplant from a live donor died on Thursday.
Suraj, hailing from Jharkhand, was suffering from end-stage liver disease when the transplant was done on January 24 this year.
With Ninati Pahadi, his 49-year-old grandmother donating part of her liver (which regenerates quickly) to Suraj, doctors were optimistic about the patient’s survival, joyfully announcing that the operation was successful after completion of the 18-hour transplant procedure.
However, 22 days later, Suraj succumbed to “severe infection”, which doctors say was a common risk among transplant patients.
“It is a very depressing incident for all of us. The child was doing fine, he was eating, playing games but his condition started deteriorating on Wednesday and he died on Thursday,” said Dr Arunanshu Behera, nodal officer, liver transplant, PGIMER.
The first month was critical for liver transplant patients with increased chances of complications during this period, he said.
“His liver was functioning well, but for some reason the child had developed severe intestinal infection. His intestine got inflated due to which there was excessive bleeding,” Dr Behera added.
The medical team attending to the child took him for surgery to see which part of his gut was gangrenous, but as the entire area was affected no decision could be taken on an operation. The patient was “given rescue treatment and we waited for 48 hours for operation, but he did not survive,” Dr Behera said.
Later at the family’s request, Suraj was cremated at the Chandigarh crematorium on Friday as they could not afford to pay for a funeral van to take him to his home town. Only the grandparents and uncle were present at the last rites as Suraj’s parents were in Jharkhand.
They will leave on Monday for their home town after Ninati Pahadi’s check-up.
“Hum toot chuke hain (we have been left devastated),” said Anjan, Suraj’s uncle.
The family, however, was all praises for the doctors. “Even relatives don’t do what PGI doctors have done for us. Jaan de di doctors ne bachaney ke liye (they did everything possible to save his life),” Anjan said.
First time unlucky
Deceased Donor Liver Transplants (DDLT) were started at PGIMER in 2011 and so far about 60 such surgeries have been performed. However, it took the institute eight years to start Living donor Liver transplant (LDLT), but the first patient has not survived.
LDLT means transplanting a portion of the liver from a living donor into the recipient with a malfunctioning liver. The liver in the donor regenerates rapidly, reaching normal volume and function within a couple of months. But donating a portion of the liver carries significant risks for the donor.