A 42-year-old man from Rohtak received a special Diwali gift this year when he became the 50th person to receive a heart transplant at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Sunday. The recipient, who used to work as a DTC bus driver in Delhi, got the heart of a 35-year-old brain dead woman from the capital. The law prohibits naming the donor as well as the recipient.
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The woman was admitted to AIIMS after she got into an accident while riding her two-wheeler. After she was declared brain dead by doctors, the hospital sought the consent of her family for a heart donation.
The heart transplant wing at AIIMS, which started 22 years ago, has conducted 13 such transplants this year — the highest at any state-run hospital in the country.
“It has been a remarkable achievement since we began the heart transplant programme in 1994. Around 40 patients have undergone heart transplants in the last two decades. This year has been very satisfying as we have conducted 13 transplants and received donations from various corners of the country. It is the hard work of around 100 people working with doctors and the local administration, who help identify the recipient and transport the heart,” said professor M C Misra, director, AIIMS.
Significantly, AIIMS has received several heart donations from outside the capital this year. The maximum number of donations, four, have come from Indore.
The most recent donor from Indore was a 29-year-old man, who was declared brain dead after an accident. His heart went to a 40-year-old resident of south Delhi. The hospital also received a donation from Chandigarh, and an Indian Air Force aircraft was used to transport the heart.
“The entire heart transplant procedure has to be completed within six hours. In the Chandigarh case, the Army R&R hospital came on board. The IAF aircraft was used to transport the heart and a special corridor was arranged by the Delhi traffic police to transport it,” said Dr Balram Airan, professor and head of the cardiothoracic and vascular sciences department at AIIMS.
Dr Balram also said that in case of Indore, “the proactiveness” of the local administration ensures that the maximum number of donations come from the city. “Commissioner Sanjay Dubey and his team have proactively contributed in the entire operation. These operations are conducted at odd times. In heart transplants, the support of the government authorities is immense and the success of Indore lies in the support system provided by the local administration,” said Dr Balram.
AIIMS officials also said they will soon begin a programme to train doctors at critical care to counsel patients and their families to encourage organ donation. “When patients are admitted in critical care, doctors have to counsel families about donation. AIIMS will soon begin a programme on this aspect,” said professor Misra.
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