Rizwan Ali runs around his home in Barasat untiringly like any other two-year-old but one look at him bounding off fills his mother with wonder because exactly one year ago he had undergone liver transplant at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, and she had been the donor.
Twelve months on, the little guy, who is the youngest liver transplant survivor of eastern India, is a bundle of energy. On Thursday, he could hardly sit still during a programme at Apollo, where he was the cynosure of all eyes. The mother, who had recovered much faster, too, has long back returned to her daily routine of all household chores.
On the same day, the Apollo Gleneagles introduced the first in-house, dedicated liver transplant unit at any hospital in eastern India. Led by transplant surgeon Dr. Ramdip Ray, the team comprises vastly experienced surgeons Dr. Sumit Gulati and Dr. Supriyo Ghatak.
Rizwan used to suffer from a congenital defect called extrahepatic biliary atresia. This is a condition where the bile formed in the liver does not flow into the intestine due to absence of bile ducts, leading to gradual and irreversible liver damage and subsequent development of infantile cirrhosis of liver. The only option for him was to get a liver transplant.
When the family learnt this — the boy’s father sells vegetables and mother is a housewife and they have a daughter elder to Riwzan – the mother, Rina Bibi, then 27 years old, did not bat an eyelid before saying she will donate her liver to gift her son a new life.
“Before the transplant, my son’s urine was deep yellow and stool white. He used to cry literally all the time and could not sleep at all. When we learnt about his problem we thought we would lose him. I am glad we opted for transplant because today my boy has recovered fully,” said the boy’s mother Rina Bibi, 28.
According to paediatric gastroenterologist Dr Subhamoy Das: “It is crucial that parents are able to recognise signs of biliary atresia, which includes a deep yellow urine and whitish stool. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, better is the outcome. This child was on the verge of death when he was brought to us. All the same, I would like to laud the boy’s mother for her selflessness as she had readily agreed to be the donor.”
Recognition of the condition is challenging because the symptoms manifests themselves when babies are just a few months old, an age at which they cannot express themselves and crying may not be comprehended to be indicative of pain by many parents.
In this instance, the boy had developed a viral lung infection post the transplant surgery and his condition had turned serious but a multi-disciplinary team at Apollo Gleneagles was able to cure him.
“Liver transplant is the last bit of hope for many people suffering from end stage disease across age groups. While at Apollo Gleneagles we have successfully carried out liver transplants for many years now, the need of the hour was to have a dedicated team of surgeons capable of conducting liver transplants. I am proud to announce that we now have an exceptionally talented team led by Dr. Ramdip Ray. He is ably complimented by Dr. Sumit Gulati and Dr. Supriyo Ghatak. We are also fortunate to have a very talented GI Liver transplant intesivist in Dr. Indrajeet Tiwary,” said Dr. Mahesh Kumar Goenka, director, Institute of Gastrosciences and Liver, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rana Dasgupta, CEO (Eastern Region), Apollo Hospitals Group, said: “We always go the extra yard to provide the best service to our patients and the excellence of the doctors is pivotal in us succeeding in doing so. Dr. Mahesh Goenka and his critical care team have been exceptional over a long period of time. I am sure the first, in-house, dedicated liver transplant team at Apollo Gleneagles — a first for any hospital in the eastern India — under Dr. Ramdip Ray is another jewel in our crown and will earn laurels for us over the years.”
“The State Health Department has been putting in relentless efforts to make the organ donation movement in the state gain momentum,” Mr. Dasgupta added.
Dr. Ramdip Ray, head of the division of liver transplantation and hepato-pancreatico-biliary (HPB) surgery at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, said he was elated to be forming a new team at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals under the Institute of Gastro Sciences and Liver. “After leading a liver transplant team in Delhi-Gurgaon, it feels good that I have been able to come back and set up a liver transplant programme in my hometown, Calcutta.”