A long wait,and a stitch in time

For Siddhant Pal,it was a gruelling wait for almost seven years — involving several trips between Mumbai and Chennai — for a kidney transplant.

Written by Aparajita Pande | Mumbai | Published:July 3, 2013 12:39 am

For Siddhant Pal,it was a gruelling wait for almost seven years — involving several trips between Mumbai and Chennai — for a kidney transplant. Siddhant,now 17,had first applied for a kidney at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai in 2006. He finally got relief only two months ago with a successful transplant done in Chennai.

This comes on the heels of Bombay High Court order to State Authorisation Committee formed under the Human Organs Transplantation Act to expedite the decision on his appeal.

The boy had been suffering from kidney failure since birth. As his condition worsened,he was put on home dialysis in August 2008. His mother,Rashmi Pal,recounts his hardships. “For the last fours years,he had been receiving dialysis four times a day. He didn’t sleep well,as he had to be woken up every six hours. His academics suffered,too.”

In December 2011,when his health began deteriorating further,Rashmi decided to shift him to Chennai. “His name was still far down on the waiting list. I had heard that the cadaver transplant process was faster in Chennai,so I decided to take my son there,” she said. Siddhant dropped out of school,and shifted base to Chennai,where he lived with his grandparents for two years. “It was extremely stressful. We were moving back and forth between Mumbai and Chennai,” Rashmi said.

Meanwhile,one of Rashmi’s employees offered to donate his kidney. The two petitioned the State Authorisation Committee to consider the transplant,but it was turned down. They then moved High Court. “The man who offered to donate his kidney used to drive us to the hospital every day. He had seen my son’s suffering. He is extremely close to us. Naturally,there was no money involved,” said Rashmi.

Months later,Pal received a call from a Chennai hospital that a cadaver transplant was available. “My son,who was in Mumbai that week,and I rushed to Chennai where the transplant took place. He has been recovering these last two months,and came back to Mumbai a few weeks ago,” said Pal. “I have informed the Authorisation Committee,and will soon be informing the hospital,too,so we can be taken off the waiting list here in Mumbai,” she said. Siddhant is set to rejoin school in a month.

Pal believes that lack of awareness on organ donation is a fundamental lacuna in the system in Mumbai. “The cadaver,from which my son received the kidney,also provided the second kidney and heart for others. A lot of lives can be saved because of organ donors. Still,many are wary of donating. Spreading information and generating awareness is extremely important,” she said.

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