Letter to Editor

A letter written by a Heart Receipient

My Journey to a Heart Transplant from the Perspective of an Engineering Student

Dear Editor,
I read with interest in the newspapers, and this journal, the story of the heart transplant of a small girl who received the heart  of an adult. I wish to narrate my own journey to a new heart at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). I was born and bought up at Kolkata. After passing the Class 12th in 2008, I gave both the AIEEE 2008 and WBJEE 2008. I got a good rank in both the examination, but due to financial reasons I couldn’t take an admission that year. So I prepared again, I again got good ranks, but again due to financial problems I didn’t take admission. After some months a 2nd OJEEE 2009 was conducted as some seats were left in colleges of Odisha, I gave that exam and got a rank under 700. I was called for counseling in Bhubaneswar and this time with the help of my relatives I arranged the counseling fee and admission fee. In counseling, I selected ECE Branch in Bhubaneswar Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar and got admission in that college. After admission, I applied for an education loan from PNB Kolkata, which was approved.

I was happy that my dream of becoming an engineer in electronics and communication would be fulfilled. In October 2009, I paid my 1st year fees, and my engineering college life started. On my 1st day at college, I went from the hostel with my father to the college in the college bus. In the Class, I took a corner seat because it seemed I was in an alien land as most students were speaking in the Odiha language. I could understand very little. Slowly I made some friends. We had three branches, so there were only 130 students in our batch. I gave my 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th semester exams, I had some back papers which could have been finished in my tenure of 4 years of engineering.

 In my 5th semester I was getting a good grasp of engineering and I was clearing my back papers with my regular papers. My 5th semester was good for me, and my SGPA was increasing I was happy that I would be able to finish my engineering in my tenure of 4 years. In my 3rd year, I had left the hostel, and I was staying with my friends in a rented house. In the year 2011, from the month of April my appetite started decreasing slowly and steadily. On December 25, 2011, I started vomiting, so I went to a hospital in Odisha the next day. They gave me some chest pain medicine and cough syrup. At the end of January 2012, I went home during the winter vacation, and my mom took me to the Command Hospital, Kolkata There the doctor did an X‑ray and the X‑ray report showed that my heart size was bigger than normal. The doctor told me to come the next day to the medicine OPD with my parents. There a Naval doctor saw my eyes and told that I have symptoms of jaundice. He wrote some blood tests and took me to a cardiologist.

The cardiologist did an echo and told me my ejection fraction was between 11% and 15%, and also did blood tests, angiogram and computed tomography scan of chest and confirmed that I had dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle weakness disease. My treatment went on for near about 1 year, but there was no improvement by medicine. When my mom asked the cardiologist whether this disease was curable or not, we were told that the only way was a heart transplant. So they referred me to the Army Research and Referral Hospital, Delhi for heart transplantation. In 2013 in the month of June, we came to Delhi and after that all the tests were done in the Army Hospital and I was put on the heart transplant waiting list. There the army doctor told us to also register for a heart transplant in AIIMS so that I could get more chances to get a heart. At AIIMS also all the tests were done and there also I was put on the transplant waiting list from February 2014. I was called thrice; 2 times I had to return from the hospital as the donor’s heart was not fit for transplant due to some medical reasons. But the 3rd time when I was called on the fateful day of May 31, 2015 at 9 p.m. I reached AIIMS in 1½ h. I was prepared; I went to the OT and my heart transplant was completed on June 1, 2015. After the heart transplant, I felt happy and filled with new energy as now I am free from diseases. I would, of course, have to take medicines lifelong and precautions to protect my new heart.

In India, the medical field and medical technology has become very good. But we have a shortage of organ donation in our country, and awareness should increase.

Before ending this letter would like to quote the words of a great innovator Steve Jobs “Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish.”
His words give me confidence because he struggled in his young age like me. And don’t be afraid to do what you dream because life doesn’t  give second chances to everyone.
I would like to thank almighty God and my parents, siblings, doctors and all nurses, Staff of AIIMS and also the donor’s family from whom I got the heart and all my friends and acquaintance those who supported me in this hard times.

Hemant Mahato
3rd Year Student, Electronics and Communication
Engineering, Bhuvaneshvar Institute of
Technology, Orissa, India

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