It was a rare feat, to be precise. A heart was transported from Surat to Mumbai and then transplanted successfully on a teenager in nearly 60 minutes. This was possible only because of the well-coordinated effort put up by Surat’s Mahavir Trauma Hospital, the airport at both the cities and the Fortis Hospital in Mumbai apart from the air ambulance provider — MAB aviation.
The donor (inset) and on the operation table
The operation was conducted yesterday morning. The entire process commenced after a team from Fortis hospital reached the Mahavir Trauma hospital.
Surat airport has night landing facilities but does not have any scheduled flights post 9 pm. However, when the Surat airport authorities were informed, they formed a team of Air Traffic Control (ATC), the fire fighting personnel, the ground staff and other officers to help the air ambulance take off from the airport at around 12 am.
Speaking to mid-day, SP Meena, Manager, ATC Surat said, “At around 9 pm we were informed that the medical ambulance would land by mid night and take off in sometime for a heart transplant. We immediately informed all the Heads of the concerned departments. In three hours, 40 staff were arranged.”
The heart reached the Surat airport at 12:48 am, 10 minutes after leaving the hospital. In just five minutes, the ground procedures were done and then, after 34 minutes, the ambulance landed in Mumbai. The Mumbai ATC that was kept in loop gave priority landing to the aircraft keeping 12 flights on hold and in three minutes, the organ departed from the airport to the hospital situated in Mulund.
The total cost spent on this was R2.5 lakh. An hour of airlifting charges around R1.5 lakh but since it was well coordinated, the recipient’s family saved money as well.
Vijay Agarwal, Head of Pediatric cardiac surgery, Fortis said, “The operation went from 2 am to 5 am after which the patient was shifted to ICU. He is currently on ventilator but stable. He will remain in the hospital for 3-4 weeks.” The air ambulance provider — MAB aviation — was steadfast in their approach to help the situation.
Dr Bharde of MAB Aviation explained, “The organ was transported to Fortis from Mumbai airport with a convoy of three police vehicles in mere 14 minutes, which enabled the transplant to commence at 5.30 am after which the recipient was shifted to ICU at around 7am. The main aim was to make the organ reach the recipient as soon as possible, which was successfully achieved.”
Kalpesh Lukhi, a 22-year-old from Surat met with an accident on April 8 after his friend lost balance of the bike he was riding, thus causing him major head injuries. The accident took place around 12.30 am.
After changing two hospitals, Lukhi was finally admitted to Mahavir Trauma hospital where the neurosurgeons kept him under 72 hours of observation. He suffered a brain hemorrhage on April 9 and after a CT scan on April 11, Lukhi was declared brain dead.
The NGO — ‘Donate Life’ was contacted by the hospital then, which in turn got in touch with Fortis. The liver and two kidneys were donated within Gujarat while the heart was transported to Mumbai for transplantation on a farmer’s son.