GB Pant Hospital Transplants Liver, Gives Hope to Poor

NEW DELHI: There is good news for the poor who cannot afford to pay for liver transplant. After AIIMS, Delhi government-run GB Pant Hospital has succeeded in conducting the life saving procedure. While private hospitals charge between Rs 10-15 lakh for the transplant, government hospitals do the procedure for almost free.

Doctors at GB Pant said the liver transplant was recently conducted on a 40-year-old woman. "The patient is doing well post-surgery and she is likely to be discharged soon," said a senior doctor.

However, Dr Anil Aggarwal, the gastrointestinal surgeon and anesthetist Dr Rajeev Uppal, did not comment. "We will talk about the transplant once the patient is discharged," Dr Aggarwal said.
Sources said the organs were flown from King George's Medical University (KGMC) in Lucknow on priority basis for conducting the transplant. "There was a cadaver donation at KGMC on March 9. While the kidneys were used there, the hospital contacted us for the liver donation. We immediately agreed and arrangements were made for transportation of the organ. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) and CATS ambulances coordinated well to ensure that no time was wasted and the transplant was carried out within 24 hours," said sources.

A senior official in directorate of health services said the hospital had conducted liver transplant even last year. The patient, however, died later so extra caution is being adopted by doctors this time.

The liver, weighing 1.5kg, is the body's largest organ and its main chemical factory. It processes the food we eat after it has been absorbed by the intestines. Doctors say fatty liver disease (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), hepatitis B & C and cirrhosis are some of the common health problems that affect its functioning, often leading to organ failure.

Few patients are able to undergo liver transplant due to unavailability of donors, costly treatment and infrastructure-related issues. "Every year 60,000 people die due to liver failure. At most, 1,000 lives are saved with liver transplant due to lack of donorsAlso, a patient who has undergone transplant has to be on immunosuppressive drugs all his life," said a senior doctor at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, (ILBS), another government hospital which conducts liver transplants on regular basis.