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MUMBAI,SOMITA PAL: Seventeen-year-old Sweden D’ Souza can take heart.
A Worli-based businessman has decided to take care of the medical bills of young Sweden, the first patient in Mumbai to undergo a peadiatric heart transplant. The Good Samaritan, who doesn’t want his name to be published, has also decided to sponsor her education.
dna, in a report on January 4, had highlighted the case of Sweden and her family, who couldn’t afford the expensive surgery.
Following the report, many people, including a 91-year-old Delhi resident who donated Rs 10,000, came forward to her help.
The teenager’s father works as a security guard and earns Rs 16,000 a month. The family was worried about hospital bills and post-operative care that would have set them back by Rs 30,000 per month.
According to doctors at Fortis hospital, Sweden is recovering well and has now been shifted to the ward. She will be discharged in a week’s time.
“I am feeling much better and looking forward to resume college,” said Sweden.
A junior college commerce student, she had to discontinue studies in October because of her heart problem.
Anthony D’Souza, Sweden’s father, said: “I was given Rs 30 lakh as an estimate for the surgery. When I went there again to check, they asked me not to worry about hospital expenses and to only take care of Sweden.”
Sweden, who was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy (an end-stage heart disease requiring heart transplant), was operated on January 3 after a 20-year-old brain dead’s family in Indore agreed to donate heart.
D’Souza, who lives in Vikhroli, has two more children and has been working double shifts ever since Sweden had the heart transplant.
“I have been doing double shifts to ensure that I can save enough money for her medicines once she returns home.
Dr Vijay Agarwal, head of paediatric cardiac surgery department, said it is heartening to see people coming forward to help Sweden.
“We have been receiving many calls, including this person who has agreed to take care of the hospital bills and her education. We have a few more people who are willing to sponsor her medicines after she is discharged from the hospital,” said Dr Agarwal.
According to doctors, Sweden recovered faster, compared to other heart transplant patients in the hospital. “She was shifted to the ward three days back. All her parameters are normal. We are planning to discharge her by Monday or Tuesday,” said Dr Agarwal.
Dr Agarwal said that there are many philanthropists who are willing to sponsor paediatric heart surgeries. “We want donors as well as children who need heart transplants. We had to refuse some cadaver hearts in the last few days as we didn’t have patients, which is sad,” said Dr Agarwal.
On January 13, there was a 24-year-old cadaver donor in Aurangabad, and, on January 14, there was a 11-year-old donor from Saifee hospital. The 24-year-old’s heart went to Chennai.
Heart transplants in Mumbai
In1968, Dr PK Sen and his team from KEM hospital, Parel, carried out two transplants, but with limited success. This was barely six months after South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant.
After that, there was a long gap and end-stage heart patients had to go to hospitals in the south. In 2015, five heart transplants were performed in Fortis hospital. Of these, one patient died.
This is the sixth heart transplant and the first paediatric one in western India.
In Mumbai, 12 people are awaiting donor hearts now.
Six hospitals from the city had received permission to perform heart transplants 10 years ago, but not a single procedure could be performed till Fortis started the surgery in August 2015.
What is heart transplant?
A heart transplant or cardiac transplantation is a surgical procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease. The procedure is considered when neither medication nor other surgeries can save a patient. The heart will be taken from a person declared brain dead, with his family’s permission.