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Twenty-six-year old Ashwini Jadhav from Indapur is the real hero in this story as, despite the fear and resistance she faced from her in-laws, she decided to agree to the recommendation made by the doctor — a heart transplant for her husband Vitthal. “He had end stage heart failure… he was dying… I thought if the doctor was convinced a heart transplant would save him, why not take the risk,” Ashwini, 26, told The Indian Express.
It has been a month since the heart transplant was performed, and Vitthal Jadhav, 36, is back on his feet. Recalling the time he fell sick, Vitthal said, “I used to feel breathless most of the time. We didn’t know what was wrong.” His family hails from Solapur; they shifted to Indapur some years ago. Vitthal and his two brothers worked as labourers, as the farm produce did not yield a good income. After Vitthal fell ill, the family paid numerous visits to doctors in Solapur, Indapur, Pune and Mumbai, but could not agree to a heart transplant.
Dr Manish Mali, a Pune-based nephrologist, urged them to consult heart and lung transplant surgeon Dr Sanjeev Jadhav. “I was surprised at the level of resistance among family members against a heart transplant. Vitthal had dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition in which the heart becomes enlarged and pumps less blood). He had consulted several doctors and by the time he was referred to Jehangir hospital, he was almost on his deathbed. He had end stage heart failure, his kidney and liver were failing and there was bleeding in his lungs,” said Dr Jadhav.
The doctor, who has conducted more than 25 heart transplants in the last two years, said he immediately arranged for the family to shift to Fortis Hospital in Mumbai. “The level of awareness, about the fact that a heart transplant can save one’s life, is so poor that his family members were apprehensive about agreeing to the operation. It was extremely difficult to convince them,” recalled Dr Jadhav. It was Ashwini, who holds a Diploma in Education (D.Ed), who decided to give the go-ahead for the transplant. “The doctor told me to read about successful heart transplants that have been performed in the last few years. I was convinced about the procedure and agreed to it,” she said.
The transplant was performed by Dr Anvay Mulay and Dr Jadhav at Fortis hospital on February 11 in Mumbai. The donor heart was from a 56-year-old man, who had died in a road accident at Surat. Within a month of the transplant,Vitthal has started living a normal life. While the cost of the transplant was estimated at Rs 25 lakh, Dr Jadhav said they had waived their charges, and some charitable trusts also provided financial assistance. “…I have been given a second chance at life, thanks to my wife and doctors,” said a grateful Vitthal, with a smile.