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Organ transplants dip in Delhi as Covid fear keeps patients away

Between April and June, the number of living liver and kidney transplants in Delhi stood at 50 and 30 respectively, as per National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) data.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi | Published: July 13, 2020 1:56:27 am
delhi organ transplant, organ transplant delhi, delhi news, city news, indian express People are slowly gaining confidence now, say doctors

The number of organ transplants in Delhi has dropped precipitously over the last three months, with very few people opting for such surgeries unless it’s absolutely essential.

Between April and June, the number of living liver and kidney transplants in Delhi stood at 50 and 30 respectively, as per National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) data. The figure was around 100-120 and 250 respectively in the first quarter of the year.

“People are also not willing to step outside… Unless and until they are very troubled, they do not opt to come for a transplant. Most transplants were done during January-March,” said Dr Vasanthi Ramesh, director, NOTTO, an apex organisation which coordinates procurement and distribution of organs and tissues across the country.

Another factor is international patients, who used to account for a large chunk of those getting transplants, are no longer coming in. “Earlier, we used to do about 25 transplants a month and now we are doing about 6-8 per month,” said Dr Subhash Gupta, chairman, Max Centre for Liver and Biliary Sciences, adding that things are slowly getting back on track as people regain confidence in moving out.

“This pandemic has been disruptive but patients should not ignore organ failure… Hospitals are performing surgeries in a sensible manner. The Covid treatment area in a hospital is completely separate,” said Dr (Col) Rajeev Sood, head of department & director, Urology, Robotics Renal Transplantation at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj.

Among those who were apprehensive of getting a transplant was Ravinder Rana (37), who eventually came to Delhi from Dharamshala on June 1 and was admitted to Max on June 10.

“Around 85% of my liver was damaged last year after I suffered acute jaundice. Doctors suggested I should not delay the transplant. I was skeptical…, but my fears ended once treatment began,” he said. Doctors successfully performed the liver transplant on Rana.

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