In February,a critically ill 16-year-old Pakistani student with acute liver failure from hepatitis A was airlifted to a Delhi hospital and operated for a liver transplant while she was in a comatose state. Madiha Tariq Sheikh from Lahore survived. Two months,she is healthy and ready to fly home.
Dr Anupam Sibal,group medical director of Apollo hospital in Delhi where the transplant surgery was conducted,said: “When we got a call from Madihas doctors in Pakistan on February 3,we immediately contacted MEA authorities. Her medical visa was issued really fast,and we also got clearances for flying an air ambulance to Lahore. She was flown in on ventilator support in an air ambulance provided by the hospital. The government of India panel that interviews patients from foreign countries also gave its green signal.”
Madihas 25-year-old brother Rizwan donated 50 per cent of his liver to his sister. Dr Subhash Gupta,senior paediatric gastroenterologist at the hospital,said: “There was swelling in her brain and other organs due to the build up of toxins. We had no other option but liver transplant,and it had to be performed on an emergency basis to ensure complete recovery. Her brother agreed to donate half of his liver.”
Madiha was taken off the ventilator within 24 hours of the surgery,and her condition improved gradually. She was discharged on March 6.
The 16-year-old said while she had apprehensions about coming to India,now she feels it is like her ‘own country.’ “We were initially worried,since we had never come here before,and there are lot of things said on both sides of the border about the other. But after the warm treatment here,all my apprehensions have disappeared,” she said.
Incidentally,she is the 350th Pakistani to have undergone liver transplant at the hospital. “We are very happy. My sister has recovered and it has been great coming here (India). We have already shared stories of the tremendous support we got here with people back home,” Rizwan said.
Madiha had developed hepatitis in January. After her condition deteriorated,she was flown to India on February 2 and operated upon on the next day.”It took a team of 18 doctors,two operation theatres,five units of platelets,10 units of plasma and 18 hours to perform the two surgeries simultaneously,” Dr Gupta said.