Sister gives bone marrow,provides lifeline to thalassaemic twins

11-yr-old says she was initially scared,twins discharged after transplant

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published: September 14, 2012 1:36 am

When they were barely a year old,twins Shubh and Shlokh Mhatre were diagnosed with thalassaemia major. For over two years,they had to undergo painful blood transfusions every month. Till their 11-year-old sister Shruti stepped in,donating 400 ml of her bone marrow.

On Monday,Shubh,now three-and-a-half years old,was discharged after a successful bone marrow transplant on August 19. His twin,Shlokh,received the bone marrow on May 28.

Shruti,a Class VII student at Kendriya Vidyalaya,says she was initially scared of the “injection”. “I don’t know what happened after that,” she says.

Her father Shashikant Mhatre works at the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation,Chakan. “We were overjoyed when we had twins after a long gap. Little did we realise what was in store,” recalls her mother Jyoti.

At nine months,Shlokh developed fever,and symptomatic treatment failed to help. Investigations found he was suffering from thalassaemia major — a serious genetic blood disorder characterised by the defective production of haemoglobin.

Tests were also carried out on Shubh,who too was found to be suffering from the disease.

With the blood transfusions draining them financially,the parents saw a ray of hope when Shruti’s human leukocyte antigen (HLA) was found to match that of her brothers,thus allowing a bone marrow transplant.

Dr Vijay Ramanan,who performed the transplant at Ruby Hall Clinic,said even Shruti has the thalassaemia trait passed on by her parents. But trait carriers can remain healthy. While a transplant costs over Rs 12 lakh,the family was offered concessional treatment.

For the parents,it was a choice between taking a risk and allowing Shruti to be a donor or settling for life-long blood transfusions. On Monday,their anxious wait came to an end as Shubh walked out of hospital to join his twin and Shruti at home.

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