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Heart Transplant in India Saves Pakistani Teenager

heart transplant
a young Pakistani woman, receives a new lease on life thanks to a heart transplant

A Gift of Life Across Borders
Pakistani Teenager Receives a Heart Transplant in India

A heart transplant in Chennai, India, has given a young Pakistani woman, Ayesha Rashan (19), a new lease on life. This remarkable story transcends political tensions, highlighting the power of humanity in the face of medical challenges. Ayesha’s battle with a congenital heart condition reached a critical point, forcing her family to seek advanced medical care abroad.

Ayesha’s journey began in Karachi, Pakistan, where her condition worsened in 2019. Limited resources and a lack of a structured organ donation system in Pakistan forced her family to look abroad for hope. Chennai, India, with its advanced medical facilities and progressive stance, especially on deceased organ donation, became a beacon of light.

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Doctors in Pakistan advised Ayesha to undergo a transplant, but the unavailability of deceased donor organs and the high cost of the procedure in private hospitals in Pakistan proved to be insurmountable hurdles. Determined to save their daughter, Ayesha’s family made the difficult decision to seek treatment in India.

Chennai Offers a Second Chance

Upon arrival in Chennai in 2019, Ayesha received treatment to manage her failing heart. However, her condition deteriorated in 2023, necessitating an immediate heart transplant. Thankfully, a 69-year-old man from New Delhi, India, became a deceased donor, and a robust organ donation system in India ensured a perfect match for Ayesha.

The transplant surgery took place at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital (MGMH), a leading medical institution in Chennai. The financial burden, estimated to cost over ₹35 lakh (US$43,000), was completely covered by the Aishwaryan Trust, a Chennai-based social organization dedicated to supporting underprivileged patients. The surgical team, led by Dr. KR Balakrishnan and Dr. Suresh Rao, also waived their fees.

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Following weeks of intensive post-operative care, Ayesha is now on the road to recovery. She dreams of returning to Karachi and pursuing her passion for fashion design. Ayesha’s story is a testament to the life-saving power of deceased organ donation and the power of international cooperation in healthcare.

heart transplant
A young Pakistani woman, receives a new lease on life thanks to a heart transplant

Pakistan’s Long Road to Organ Donation

Ayesha’s story also sheds light on the challenges faced by Pakistan’s healthcare system when it comes to organ donation. Unlike India, which boasts a well-established organ donation infrastructure, Pakistan lacks a systematic approach to deceased organ donation program. A shortage of trained specialists and a cultural resistance to organ donation further complicate the situation.

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However, there are glimmers of hope. The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) in Karachi has emerged as a torchbearer for deceased organ donation. Dr. Adib Rizvi, the institute’s founder and chairman, has tirelessly advocated for deceased organ donation for over two decades. His unwavering commitment led to the passing of a law against organ trafficking and unethical transplants in 2010.

Shining a Light on the Efforts of SIUT and Dr. Adib Rizvi

The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), under the determined leadership of Dr. Adib Rizvi, has become a beacon of hope for organ donation in Pakistan. They haven’t just fought for legal changes, but also tackled cultural resistance by documenting and publicizing successful cases. These include Mr. Naveed (1998), Ms. Shamim Bano (2005), Prof. Razzak Memon (2008), Mr. Imran Shah (2010), and Mr. Arsalan (2011). They even highlighted the inspiring act of social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi, whose corneas gave sight to two people after his passing. SIUT’s dedication goes beyond advocacy. The institute has performed over 7,000 kidney transplants, over 50 liver transplants, and countless corneal transplants, all prioritizing patient dignity and compassion. Most remarkably, SIUT offers high-quality transplant surgeries at no cost, making them a lifeline for many Pakistanis battling organ failure. Dr. Rizvi’s unwavering efforts and SIUT’s commitment serve as a shining example for other institutions in Pakistan, paving the way for a future where organ donation saves countless lives.

Ayesha’s story is a beacon of hope for countless others in Pakistan battling life-threatening illnesses. It demonstrates the power of international cooperation, technological advancements, and unwavering human compassion to save lives. As Ayesha embarks on a new chapter with a healthy heart, her story serves as a potent reminder: sometimes, the greatest gifts transcend borders and breathe new life into those who need it most.

Source: NDTV

Written by Dr. Evelyn Karen

Dr. Evelyn Karen is a highly regarded Internal Medicine Physician with over 20 years of experience in Manila. Dr. Karen is passionate about patient well-being and champions innovative practices, including integrative medicine, telemedicine, and community outreach.

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