Gujarat gives its heart to Mumbai

Following an inter-state agreement signed in October, heart from a brain dead patient reaches Mulund’s Fortis Hospital in less than two hours

On August 3, Mumbai witnessed its first successful heart transplant, which gave a new lease of life to 22-year-old Anwar Khan, and Mumbaikar, a new hope.

Family members with the patient; (inset) Patel
Family members with the patient; (inset) Patel

Five months on, the fifth heart transplant was conducted in the city on Friday. A 52-year-old patient, who was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, in which the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases, received a donor organ from Surat.

Interstate permissions
Until now, there was no official organ-transplant undertaking between Mumbai and Gujarat, which has intil now supplied cadavers to 12 states in the country.

The road for an interstate transplant was paved in October, when two eminent cardiac surgeons Dr Anvay Muley, chief of cardiac surgery at Mulund’s Fortis Hospital and Dr Jaswant Patel, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon at Surat’s Mahavir Hospital, met at a medical conference in Mumbai and discussed the idea of sharing cadavers between the two states for the first time.

On December 16, a 43-year-old man, Jagdish Patel while travelling on a two-wheeler from Surat to Waswa, was hit by an SUV. Patel and his wife were rushed to Mahavir Trauma Hospital, but two days later, Jagdish was declared brain dead.

His family approached Donate Life, a Surat-based NGO that works in the field of cadaver donation, about donating his liver and kidney. The NGO then counseled them and suggested that they donate the heart as well. The Fortis team was alerted to an available heart.

The government NOC came at 5.15 pm that evening. Two hours later, Dr Muley’s team reached Mahavir Hospital to retrieve the heart. Mandlewala, along with hospital officials, met Surat’s special commissioner of police, VM Pargi, to request a green corridor.

The journey, from Surat to Mulund, took one hour and 32 minutes over a distance of 269 km (see box). Conducting surgeon Dr Anvay Mulay, chief of cardiac surgery at Fortis Hospital, said, “The family’s willingness helped make the fifth transplant in Mumbai possible. We need more families to come forward and help save lives. The patient is stable and will be kept under observation for the next 72 hours.” Three other patients, from Gujarat and Rajasthan, have received Jagdish’s liver and both kidneys.

Speed for a cause
5.15 pm: Interstate permission for cadaver donation given 

7.15 pm: Fortis team reaches Mahavir Hospital, Surat 

8.30 pm: Patient is taken to OT 

10.36 pm: Jagdish's heart leaves the hospital

10.45 pm: Heart reaches Surat Airport

10.50 pm: Chartered flight takes off with the heart. 

11.43 pm: Flight lands at Mumbai Airport. A green corridor is created from the domestic airport (Gate No. 8) to Fortis Hospital

12.08 am: Heart reaches hospital

3.45 am: Fortis team completes the surgery

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