Family of 7-month-old refuse to get son's liver operation done in Mumbai

Updated: Dec 18, 2016, 17:36 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

With Mumbai unable to match Chennai's success rate in liver transplants, patients prefer the south for the high-risk surgery; doctors say there are very few specialists in the city

Prachi Rajwade with her seven-month-old son Parth, who needs a liver transplant
Prachi Rajwade with her seven-month-old son Parth, who needs a liver transplant

While the city is hoping to perform a record-breaking surgery on the world's heaviest woman, when it comes to life-saving liver surgery, Mumbai lags far behind Chennai.

The family of seven-month-old Parth Rajwade is testimony to this. Parth was operated upon at Wadia Hospital in Mumbai when he was two-and-a-half-months-old for biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts that occurs in infants. But, the surgery was a failure. Now, Parth needs a liver transplant and the parents are headed to Global Hospitals in Chennai, absolutely refusing to have it done in the city.

Currently, Parth, who lives in Dombivli, is undergoing treatment at Global Hospitals, Parel, while the family struggles to arrange for Rs 32 lakh for the surgery. The parents have just two months in which to raise the money.

"My son was born completely normal. But a month later, he was diagnosed with biliary atresia. Parth's father is ready to give him a part of his liver, but we don't want to do the transplant in Mumbai, as the success rate of Chennai is far higher," said Parth's mother, Prachi.

City lacks expertise
In Mumbai, only two hospitals conduct paediatric liver transplants — Kokilaben Hospital and Global Hospitals — while in Thane, Jupiter Hospital conducts such surgeries. While Global Hospitals only conducts these surgeries on those aged above five, Jupiter and Kokilaben conduct surgeries on those even younger, under Dr Arvinder
Singh Soin, who comes in from Medanta, New Delhi.

Both hospitals conduct 15 such surgeries each every year. In Chennai, Global conducts six such transplants every month. Speaking to mid-day, Dr Sunil Shroff from Mohan Foundation, an NGO that is working with the government for organ donation across the country, said, "Paediatric liver transplants were started in Mumbai only a few years ago, whereas in Chennai, it had started almost eight or nine years ago. Hence, the doctors there are better trained to handle transplants."

Dr Ravi Mohanka, chief surgeon and head of department of liver transplant and hepato-biliary surgery at Global Hospitals, Mumbai, said the problem was that unlike Chennai, Mumbai lacks doctors who have specialised only in paediatric liver transplants.

'Mumbai can, too'
Dr Vinay Kumaran, who heads the liver transplant surgery team at Kokilaben, said, "The hospital hardly gets any case of paediatric liver transplant cases. Of the total number of patients we receive, 10 per cent are under two years old. So far, they have operated on 15 paediatric patients and 12 have been successful. His youngest liver transplant patient was an 8-month-old whom he operated on two years ago.

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