Lung transplant: PGI doctors stress need for funds for financially weak patients

On July 11, the PGIMER became the country’s first government hospital to conduct lung transplant. The cost of the transplant is being borne by the institute after it was found that the family of the recipient belong to low socioeconomic status (SES).

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh | Published:July 13, 2017 9:19 am
lung transplant, PGI, PGIMER, PGI Chandigarh, PGI lung transplant Advanced Cardiac Centre at PGIMER. (Source: Express)

A day after the first lung transplant at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, doctors said there was need for funds for patients who are financially weak. On July 11, the PGIMER became the country’s first government hospital to conduct lung transplant. The cost of the transplant is being borne by the institute after it was found that the family of the recipient belong to low socioeconomic status (SES). The PGI has seen an increase in the cadaver organ donation over the years.

At present, the PGI does not have any special fund for the recipients and at times, the departments are playing a role to assist the finance of the organ recipients or through some government schemes.

Sushil Thakur, the financial adviser of PGI, said: “There is no special fund earmarked for the patients who undergo transplant at the institute. But in exceptional cases, the cost is borne by the PGI administration.”

According to the PGI doctors, the lung transplant, including one year of medication, for a patient costs not less than Rs 6 lakh. For a year-long medication and transplant, the liver transplant approximately costs Rs 8-10 lakh, heart Rs 5-8 lakh, kidney Rs 3 lakh and pancreas Rs 5 lakh.

Dr D Behera, head, department of pulmonary medicine, said though the institute took steps to assist the first lung transplant case on Tuesday, providing assistance could not be a routine affair. “There should be some initiative at the government and society levels so that financial assistance is provided in these cases,” Behera told the Chandigarh Newsline.

On Wednesday, three patients were in the waiting list for lung transplant. Fearing that patients with low SES won’t be able to continue medication post transplant, the doctors said they did not advise transplants in such cases.

“We discourage the patients who cannot afford the continuous medication after the transplant. If necessary medication is stopped, the organ start deteriorating,” said Dr Ashish Sharma, head, department of renal transplant, PGI.

Another PGI doctor said at the time of enrollment for the transplant, the doctor screen if the patient has a good financial background.

PGI director Dr Jagat Ram said they are planning to seek public help. “We may issue appeal to the general public requesting them they can donate money to help the recipients of organ transplant who are financially weak,” he said.

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