In a medical marvel in Kerala, a 38-year-old brain dead patient gave a new lease of life to Syed Younis Sahir, who was suffering from diabetes and kidney failure. After a 12-hour complicated transplant surgery in India, Kochi doctors conducted the first successful transplant surgery in India combined pancreas and kidney transplant surgery in India in the state and the third in India.
Syed can’t express in words the excitement he feels about finally getting rid of insulin injections. He has suffered from juvenile diabetes since he was 19, and later developed kidney problems. When doctors at his native in Palakkad referred him to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, they recommended a kidney and pancreas transplant.
“After multiple transplant surgery in India when I gained consciousness, my lips were dry and I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. The doctors suggested I can have ice cream, my happiness had no limits when I had it. I haven’t tasted ice cream since I was 19,” Younis said.
For doctors, the only way to save Syed from further issues was a multiple organ transplant surgery in India. “If we do a kidney transplant, that kidney is again going to suffer the same. In this condition, if we transplant pancreas also along with kidney, the problem of Type I diabetes and high blood sugar will also get controlled,” said Dr Ramachandran Narayana Menon, surgical gastroenterologist and transplant surgeon.
Pancreas transplant in India is a complicated procedure and there was always an element of risk. “After the implant once the blood sugar comes down, we are a bit relieved as it is a sign that the pancreas has started working. From that point we are a bit reassured. But everyday anything can happen, the blood supply can develop a problem, patient can develop inflammation to the pancreas and once the patient develops this rejection is possible. Fortunately Syed was fine,” said Dr Dinesh Balakrishnan, surgical gastroenterologist and transplant surgeon.
For many, finding an organ donor is the big hurdle. “Of the potential brain dead donors in Kerala or in India, what we utilise is less than one in 50 or one in 100. There is also a stigma attached to transplant surgery in India essentially because of the multiple rackets that we hear jumping up all over the country,” said Dr G Unnikrishnan, Associate Professor and Transplant Surgeon, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.
Syed will need continuous follow up for months. He says he will now work towards increasing awareness about organ donations and transplant surgery in India.
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