Son donates liver to save his father’s life

Jalandhar, 2020: 62-year-old Rashpal Singh, a farmer from Hoshiarpur, Punjab gets back to his farming after his son donated a part of his liver to save his life.The patient from Jalandhar successfully underwent a lifesaving liver transplant surgery at Fortis Hospital Gurugram.

The patient was diagnosed with Liver Cancer in October last year at a local hospital in Jalandhar. But his condition worsened recently when the patient had a sudden onset episode of blood in vomiting and was referred to Fortis Hospital, Gurugram.

Detailed investigations suggested that the patient was suffering from Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer and was advised for an immediate Liver transplant surgery, which otherwise would prove fatal. His son who lives abroad volunteered for donation and he underwent liver transplant. Living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) is a procedure which involves replacing an unhealthy liver with the healthy liver from another living person through surgical intervention. LDLT is an established treatment for all types of end stage liver diseases including liver cancer.

“The patient was brought to us in a very severe condition requiring immediate liver transplant which otherwise could also spread to other parts of the body. Liquor consumption for over 30 years, was the key reason for his current condition, and cirrhosis of the liver is considered to be the last stages of fibrosis in which normal liver functioning is severely affected. Around 5% of the people having liver cirrhosis develop the risk of liver cancer in India annually. Thus, liver transplant surgeries prove to be successful only in cases where the cancer is limited to the liver and not spread to the major blood vessels. Any healthy family member who is of age 18-50 years with no major medical problems can be assessed for being a liver donor. Also, the laparoscopic liver donor surgery has many advantages over conventional open donor surgery which includes less pain, faster recovery, and better aesthetically.”  Said Dr. Vivek Vij, Chairman, LTP & HBP Surgery, Fortis Hospitals, Delhi-NCR.

Over the years, the donor surgery procedure has evolved and become very safe. Liver is a unique organ which will grow back to the near normal size and functioning in a period of few months to a year. Laparoscopic Donor liver surgery is the latest innovation in the field of LDLT. Under this procedure, the donor surgery is performed through small holes, then the liver is extracted through Pfannenstiel (lower abdomen) incision. In these patients, timely referral of a patient to a transplant centre is very important.

“There is no cure short of LTP for patients suffering with decompensated liver cirrhosis, however, in this case the patient was also suffering from liver cancer. The patient’s condition was evaluated and LTP was the only option.  The main problem we face with such patients is delay in referral to LTP centre and finding a suitable liver donor. The patient’s son came forward for donation and after necessary initial screenings, he was deemed fit for donation.”  Said Dr. Ashish Singhal, Senior Consultant, LTP & HBP Surgery, Fortis Hospitals, Delhi-NCR

Currently, Dr. Vij and team at Fortis Hospital, Gurugram is the only team in India regularly performing pure laparoscopic donor surgeries. This is a great benefit for young donors.

Mr. Rashpal Singh, the patient said, “I have never had any major health problems before. I was diabetic and had BP related issues, however, I was healthy. When I suddenly vomited blood, my family immediately took me for a local consultation who investigated the condition as liver cancer and referred me to Fortis Hospital, Gurugram for an immediate liver transplant surgery. However I did not know what this procedure entails and underwent counselling.  After initial scrutiny I was overweight at 116 kg, doctors kept me on a special diet, and I reduced to 108 kg before performing the procedure. It has now been 9 months and I am now completely fine and resumed my farming. My son is also fit, and he started his normal life in a span of 2-3 weeks. I am thankful to my doctor in Jalandhar for guiding me to the right direction and Dr. Vij and team for saving my life.”


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