A heart transplant widens boundaries in Kerala’s public healthcare system

A successful heart transplant is widening the boundaries in Kerala's public health care

Written by Vishnu Varma | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2015 4:10 pm
kerala, kochi heart transplant, kottayam medical college, kerala healthcare, kerala heart transplant, vinaya kumar, kochi organ transplant, kochi news, kerala news, india news A successful heart transplant took place at the Kottayam Medical College, a first for Kerala’s public health care

Multiple affirmative stories are now emerging around a historic heart transplant that took place at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam district of Kerala on Tuesday. It is the first time in Kerala’s public healthcare system that a complicated heart transplant was conducted successfully at a government hospital.

Podimon, 48, a resident of Pathanamthitta district, breathes a new life today after a heart was transplanted into his body in a highly delicate surgery by a team of doctors headed by Dr Jayakumar at the medical college hospital.

“The patient had several heart ailments and his heart beat was slow too. He couldn’t walk. When we got to know that a heart was available in Kochi, we made arrangements to go there. Under the team headed by Dr Jayakumar, the heart was harvested and then brought to the hospital here by 4 am. By 6 am, the surgery was over and the heart was beating again in the patient’s body. After almost 24 hours, the patient has been taken off the ventilator and we are monitoring him,” said Rajesh, a perfusionist who took part in the surgery, over the telephone.

Since they are highly-complicated surgeries, government hospitals usually lack facilities, added Rajesh.

“Barring AIIMS, this is the first time such a surgery has happened at a government hospital in India,” he proudly said.

But in a parallel achievement for the state’s healthcare, the heart transplanted into Podimon’s body was just one of the five organs that were harvested from the body of Vinaya Kumar, a 48-year-old accident victim, who was declared brain dead when he was brought into the Lourdes Hospital in Kochi. It was the result of some swift coordination efforts between the organ sharing networks and hospitals coupled with the enthusiastic support offered by Vinaya Kumar’s family that at least five people now have the opportunity to a healthy life.

“Vinaya Kumar unfortunately suffered a bike accident and had a brain haemorrhage when he was brought here. After discussions with the family, it was decided that his organs could be transplanted. While one kidney was sent to the Calicut Medical College, the other was transplanted into a patient’s body here at Lourde itself. A liver was sent to the Medical Trust hospital and his two corneas were donated to an eye bank,” said a PRO at the hospital.

At Kottayam, where Vinaya Kumar’s heart has found a new place in Podimon’s body, the latter’s wife could not be happier.

“When he was brought here, doctors told me that his heart was damaged and that it had a number of blocks. I was scared before the surgery. But now, I am happy. When he opened his eyes, he inquired about me and he identified my elder son. I am very happy,” said Omana, his wife.

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