After conducting two cadaver kidney transplants, doctors at the state-run Sassoon General Hospital are gearing up to perform liver and heart transplant.

The hospital authorities have applied for permission to the state government. If everything goes according to the plan, the liver transplant program of the hospital is likely to be a reality from February end. For heart transplant, one has to wait till April.

Once this jappens, Sassoon General Hospital will be among the few government set-ups in India to have infrastructure and expertise for kidney, liver and heart transplants.

While private hospitals charge anything between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 25 lakh for these transplants, the process at Sassoon is likely to be less expensive as the authorities will raise amounts from the chief minister's funds and various charitable trusts to beat expenses of the disposables and other medical paraphernalia needed for transplant surgeries.

"We are awaiting a nod from the state government. The health authorities have already inspected the facilities and expertise at the hospital needed to conduct live transplants. The facility will immensely benefit patients who cannot afford liver and heart transplant surgeries at private hospitals," senior spine surgeon and hospital dean Ajay Chandanwale told TOI.

Sassoon hospital has taken a lead in terms of organ donation in Maharashtra. Over the last one-and-a-half-years, doctors in the hospital have retrieved 21 organs, including heart, liver and kidney, from six brain-dead people that benefited 21 patients. The retrieved organs were allocated to various hospitals in the city.

Being a state run-medical college attached hospital, Sassoon General Hospital gets all sorts accident patients. Besides, it has to daily cater to the patients referred from adjoining areas for tertiary care. On an average, the hospital reports 20-25 fatalities per month due to various kinds of trauma, including road accidents

"It is often seen that patients who have exhausted their resources at private hospitals are referred to Sassoon hospital. Some private hospitals also refer patients to us when their condition worsens. This has also pushed the death rate at our hospital," Chadanwale said.

Ruby Hall Clinic has carried out the highest number of liver and heart transplant surgeries in the city in last two years.

Stressing the need of transplant surgeries at public hospital, Ruby Hall Clinic's transplant physician, Sheetal Dhadphade-Mahajani, said, "A large number of patients needs transplant surgeries but cannot afford treatment at private hospitals because of funds crunch. Starting such facilities at public hospitals like Sassoon will immensely benefit the patients in need.'

Mahajani added, "Currently, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation-run KEM Hospital in Mumbai is perhaps the only public hospital in Maharashtra with a liver transplant facility."

Health activists working in the field said the state should fund transplant surgeries at least at government-run facilities. "The state should include all transplant surgeries in its Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana. There is an urgent need to equip the public hospitals for transplant surgeries," activist Sanjay Dabhade said.

The Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee's Pune branch records revealed that 2017 saw 56 cadaver organ donors and donation of 79 kidneys, 53 livers and nine hearts. – TOI 


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