Bengaluru: The city is witnessing an increasing number of heart warming tales of families going beyond their personal grief and agreeing to donate the organs of the ones they have lost.
“I have nothing but life-long goodwill and prayers for this family that lost their son. Despite their pain, they gave a new lease of life to my husband,” said the wife of a 29-year-old man, who underwent a successful heart transplant at BGS Hospital on Saturday.
The heart was harvested from 21-year-old M. Balaji, who met with a serious road accident on January 1 and was declared brain dead the next day.
Balaji's mother and other family members agreed for the donation after being the doctors at M.S. Ramaiah Hospital and members of the Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Transplantation counseled them.
The first day of the year did not bode well for 21-year-old Balaji from the city, who met with an accident that night while riding his bike.
He suffered critical head injuries and was rushed to M S Ramaiah Hospital, but the doctors told his family that his brain had been damaged beyond recovery.
“Immediately after the accident, he was taken to another hospital and was later referred to M.S. Ramaiah Hospital. He was very critical with severe brain damage at the time of admission.
He was declared brain dead around 7 pm on Friday. His family members were counseled and they agreed for organ donation,” said Dr Naresh Shetty, President, M.S. Ramaiah Memorial Hospital.
The Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka for Transplantation (ZCCK) took over from there, ensuring that all necessary protocols were met.
A match for Balaji’s heart was found in a 29-year-old patient from West Bengal. The heart was retrieved early on Saturday morning and was shifted to BGS Global Hospital through a green corridor created by the city police.
The ambulance carrying the heart started from M.S. Ramaiah Hospital at 9.50 am and reached BGS Global Hospitals at 10.10 am, covering a distance of 24 km in 20 minutes.
The recipient patient successfully underwent heart transplant surgery on Saturday and is recovering well. The transplantation was completed in two hours 45 minutes, including the commuting time.
The transplant recipient, a goldsmith, had heart failure symptoms for the last three years. “He was unable to work and support his family, and a heart transplant was the only option for him.
His condition was worsening and he had breathing problems even while walking,” said Partha, a well-wisher of the patient. He was referred to BGS Global Hospitals, Bengaluru, two months ago and was waiting for a suitable heart.
“We did get a near match earlier, but the heart was not healthy and it did not work out for us. This time, he was lucky and found a matching donor,” Partha added.
The heart transplant surgery was performed by a team of senior cardiac surgeons, including Dr Manoj S.P., Dr Bharath Dubey, Dr Anand Subrahmanyam, anaesthetists, cardiologists and several technicians. A team of 15 members worked on the procedure.
Dr Anand Subrahmanyam said, “Unfortunately, several patients suffer from heart failure. They are not aware that heart transplantation is a feasible option to effectively treat their illness.
Of late, there has been an increased awareness among families of many brain dead patients and they are coming forward to donate organs, including the heart. The ZCCK is playing an important role.”
He said, “A heart transplantation surgery requires a team of highly skilled surgeons, professionals, infrastructure and coordination.
It involves identifying the right recipient and donor at the appropriate time. The transplant surgery involves removing the diseased heart and replacing it with the donor’s heart.
The patient has to be on monitored intensely for rejection and infection. These patients have to be on immune suppressive drugs to prevent the body from rejecting the new heart.
The patient is discharged in 8 to 10 days, but he has to take extreme precautions against infections for one year, while on immune suppressive drugs.”
Dr Venkataramanaa N.K., Vice-Chairman and Chief Neurosurgeon, BGS Global Hospitals, said, “The Bengaluru Traffic Police have contributed to the entire operation by creating the Green Corridor.
We are all becoming more efficient and professional in organising such unique medical initiatives and we are proud that Bengaluru has become the role model for the country.”