Sanjay Kandasamy was once a boy who had to undergo a liver transplant when he was 18 months old. Today, he is a successful doctor who hopes to be an organ donor one day.
Now 21, Sanjay Kandasamy was just 18 months old when his father had to donate a part of his liver to him in November 1998.
In doing so, Sanjay and his doctors created history in the annals of Indian medicine as the country’s first successful liver transplant surgery, Indraprastha Apollo hospitals said in statement.
Not only has Sanjay done exceedingly well, without having any other complications since the transplant, he is now training to be a doctor himself.
Since it has been more than 20 years that the transplant took place, he explained how the difficulty level of such surgeries have changed.
He said, “At that time, my father donated his organ otherwise it wouldn’t have been that easy.” Being a medical student himself, he added, “Today, the situation has changed due to a better availability of reCourtesys, technology, doctors and even donors, which have risen in numbers. The information has spread much easily today.”
On the 20th anniversary of the operation that changed the face of medical sciences in India, the hospital showcased the evolution that liver transplants have gone through over the last two decades.
Dr Preetha Reddy, vice chairperson of the Apollo Hospitals Group, said liver disease is a major cause for concern in the country with as many as two lakh people dying from it every year. While around 1,800 liver transplants are done annually, as many as 20,000 people need a liver transplant at any given point.
“The fact is around 10 lakh people are diagnosed with liver disease every year, making it the 10th most-common cause of death in India as per the WHO. While India has come a long way since the first operation, there is still a huge gap to be filled,” Dr Reddy said.
Ace Indian cricketer, Gautam Gambhir, a long-time proponent of organ donation was also present on the occasion.
“Every three minutes a person gets added to the list who need a transplant. Today, over two lakh Indians are on the list while less than 10 percent get a transplant. We have to work as a nation to increase our organ donation rate. I have pledged my organs in 2011 and encourage the youth to raise awareness on organ donation and become donors themselves. This needs to become a national movement,” he said.
Apollo Hospitals’ Group medical director and senior pediatric gastroenterologist, Dr Anupam Sibal, said that over the last 20 years the Apollo Institutes of Transplant has performed more than 3,200 liver transplants in patients from over 50 countries of which 302 have been children.
“While there is still lack in infrastructure for life-saving organ donations and transplants, the numbers in the country are showing some improvement in the country. Out of 301 hospitals equipped to handle the process, 250 have registered with National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), showing that in order to conduct an organ transplant, there exists one fully equipped hospital for around 43 lakh people,” Dr Sibal said.
Sanjay, who is currently pursuing his medical studies at the Srilakshmi Narayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry, has been on immunosuppressant medication for 15 to 16 years. He aspires to be a blood donor himself. However, his suppressants medication wouldn’t allow him to donate. “I want to be a donor, but unfortunately I can’t donate,” said Sanjay.
(With inputs from agency
Writer: The pioneer
Courtesy: The pionee