Thursday, March 30

Kolkata gets fourth liver transplant unit

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The city has got its fourth liver transplant unit, boosting the organ donation movement in the state. Medica Superspecialty Hospital has joined the ranks of SSKM Hospital, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals (AGH) and RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) to have a liver transplant unit of its own.

SSKM Hospital was the first facility to set up such a unit, followed by Apollo. Most of the liver transplant surgeries have been conducted at these two hospitals.

“We got the licence about 10 days ago. We have a couple of potential recipients lined up and we shall conduct our first transplant when we get a donor organ,” Dr Pradeepta Kumar Sethy, director department of Gastroenterology at Medica Superspecialty Hospital, said on the eve of World Hepatitis Day.

About 10% of those affected by hepatitis B and 50% of those with hepatitis C can develop chronic liver diseases in the long run, requiring liver transplant in some. Due to scarcity of donors, the state has had just about 40 liver transplants so far; the majority of them being from living donors.

“Hepatitis is preventable by increasing awareness, sanitation, vaccination, early diagnosis and proper medical care. There is also a need to create more awareness on deceased organ donation to help those who need transplant,” said Dr Mahesh Goenka, director, Institute of Gastro Sciences and Liver at Apollo.

Doctors, activists and liver recipients at an event by Apollo Hospitals on Saturday brainstormed on how to increase organ donations.

There have been 40-odd liver transplant surgeries in the state so far. The first cadaver donor transplant was in 2010 at SSKM Hospital. After that there have been only 10 more deceased liver transplant surgeries.

Hepatology head at SSKM Hospital Dr Abhijit Chowdhury said, “Most of the transplant surgeries at our unit have been living donor transplants. Of late, however, there has been a rise in the deceased donor transplants. There is a need for more organ donations in the state.”

Manoj Kumar Hela from Moulali, one of the beneficiaries from the 15 organ donations in 2018, said that his life had changed after the transplant surgery that he underwent at Apollo in October last year. Hela was a patient of advanced liver cirrhosis. “The donor’s organ saved me from death. I know what deceased organ donation mean to patients like me who are on the verge of death,” Hela said.

There were 15 organ donations in the state in 2018. However, there have been only four this year so far. In a setback to the movement, an attempt to convince the family of a brain-dead patient to donate her organs at a private hospital on Friday night failed.


Source: Times of India

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