Lack of skilled manpower and awareness among people are some of the reasons why eastern India is still to make a mark on the country’s liver transplant map, a liver specialist said in Calcutta on Thursday. “Liver transplant is one of the most complex surgeries and needs a highly skilled team. Each transplant needs around 15 consultants,” Tom Cherian, founder, South Asian Liver Institute, said. “Apart from trained surgeons, the team should comprise gastroenterologists, anaesthetists, critical care experts and nursing staff trained in liver transplant. The unit needs specialised pathological laboratory, blood bank and other infrastructure.” Cherian, the Hyderabadbased surgeon who has over 600 transplants to his credit, was in Calcutta for the launch of Medica Centre for Liver Diseases, a collaboration between the hospital and his institute. The centre’s OPD will start functioning from Friday and transplantations will be done soon, a hospital official said. “Fifteen transplants are done in Hyderabad every month on average,” Cherian said. In Calcutta, there’s not even one transplant a month. He said a bulk of his patients at Hyderabad were from Calcutta and eastern India. “Several people suffering from liver ailments continue to suffer and die a slow and painful death because they don’t know a successful transplant can help them lead a normal life.” One in every four people in India has liver disorders in various forms, including hepatitis B and C, fatty liver and congenital diseases, according to gastroenterologists. At least 1,000 people in eastern India suffering from liver failure and liver cancer require transplants. “There are 1,500-1,600 liver transplants every year in India. The need is for 25,000,” Pradeepta Kumar Sethy, director of gastroenterology at Medica, said.
Source: The Telegraph