Kochi hosts a heart-to-heart meet

Deccan Chronicle.

Lifestyle, Health and Wellbeing

The first heart was transplanted on 54 year old Louis Washkansky on December 3 in 1967.

Preethi Unhale, the first one to undergo heart transplantation in the country 17 years ago, accepting a piece of the cake cut marking her birthday from another survivor Sruthi at a function held to celebrate the golden jubilee of heart transplantation in Kochi on Sunday Hibi Eden MLA, health minister K.K. Shailaja and Dr. Jose Chacko Periapuram are also seen. (Photo: SUNOJ NINAN MATHEW)

Kochi: It was a rare get-together for all of them on Sunday. A total of 16 people who underwent heart transplantation in the state greeted each other on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the first heart transplant in the world. Joining them on the occasion was the woman who underwent the first transplant in the country, Preethi Unhale who belongs to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Interestingly the day was her birthday as well.

The event organised by the Society for Heart Failure and Transplantation, Kochi Indian Medical Association and Rajagiri Transcentre was inaugurated by health minister K.K. Shailaja who inaugurated it. Unhale underwent the transplantation 17 years ago at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi which was led by Dr P Venugopal. She is currently co-ordinating the organ donation activities at AIIMS Delhi.

The Health Minister told the gathering that assembled on the occasion which comprised the family members of those received the hearts and others that the government is formulating comprehensive programs for encouraging organ donation and it will be implemented at the government level.  

Dr Jose Chacko Periyapuram who undertook the first heart transplantation in the state was also present on the occasion. He is the only one who stitched the third heart on the same person in the country. The first heart was transplanted on 54 year old Louis Washkansky on December 3 in 1967 by South African Dr Christian Bernard. On Sunday, a total of 500 people took pledge to donate organs and gave the consent letter for that. Hibi Eden MLA was also present on the occasion apart from cardiologist Dr Jabir Abdullakutty and others.