In a first in the city, a heart travelled over 1,300 km from Navi Mumbai for a transplant in Chennai in a co-ordinated effort between airport officials, traffic authorities, doctors and the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO). The recipient of the heart was a Lebanese senior citizen. Thursday’s cadaver donation and transplant indicates the well-oiled machinery that has finally started functioning to facilitate organ donation and inter-state transplants.
On Thursday, 43-year-old Chetan Tailor, a grocery shopowner in Khopoli, was declared brain dead after 20 days of hospitalisation in Navi Mumbai’s Apollo Hospital. According to doctors, Chetan suffered an intra-cranial brain bleed and efforts to revive him were made for several days.
His wife and 12-year-old son had heard about organ donation. Someone they knew had donated organs and they were willing to donate all his organs,” said a transplant coordinator from the hospital. “Only the heart was retrieved as other organs were not suitable for transplantation,” said Dr Prasad Mugalikar, medical director of Apollo Hospital, Navi Mumbai.
A green corridor was created Thursday from the hospital through Palm Beach road, via the Pune highway, and Mankhurd-Ghatkopar link road followed by the Santacruz-Chembur link road to reach Mumbai airport in 40 minutes. From there, it was flown on a chartered plane to Chennai and reached Fortis hospital in four hours.
Local Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre officials said of 26 heart patients in waitlist for a transplant in Mumbai, no one was compatible with the donor. For compatibility, blood group and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) are basic tests conducted on the donor and the recipient.
According to NOTTO guidelines, once no compatible recipient is found in the state or surrounding states, the organ is provided to the rest of India for a suitable recipient.
The 61-year-old recipient, who underwent heart transplant on Thursday, is a businessman working in the construction sector. He suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy and registered himself for transplant a month ago. Originally from Lebanon, he has been living with his wife and three children in Chennai since September this year.
Doctors at Fortis hospital in Chennai, where the heart transplant was conducted, said they faced no challenges in the transplant except for the time constraint. A heart, once harvested from a body, has to be transplanted into another body within six hours, following which its deterioration begins. In this case, doctors, traffic and airport officials raced against time to transport the heart in four hours from Mumbai to Chennai.