Manish Shah from Surat, Gujarat donated his lungs and gave life to the Covid patient in West Bengal. This is the first lung transplant in eastern India which was carried out in Kolkata . Another major milestone for organ donation in India.
He is belonging to a family whose three generations have been in public service, working either for the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) or the Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) as engineers, Manish Shah was declared brain-dead on September 19, three days after being diagnosed with blood clotting which led to brain haemorrhage.
The 53-year-old Surat resident had been infected by Covid in June 2020. Just five months later, in November, he was diagnosed with Covid Associated Mucormycosis (CAM). Shah had to undergo a maxillofacial surgery for debridement of the fungus. Doctors had to remove 16 of his teeth and a part of his jaw.
Even as this ordeal ended in 2020, suspected Long Covid led to blood clotting and brain haemorrhage. His family was counselled by volunteers of the Donate Life NGO and they consented to organ donation.
To the surprise of doctors, while his heart was not fit for transplant, his lungs were in perfect condition even after the bout of Covid. As there were no takers in Gujarat, the pair of lungs were referred to the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) who allotted them to Medica Super Speciality Hospital in Kolkata, West Bengal.
NOTTO Director Dr Vasanthi Ramesh said, “This is indeed the first ever lung transplant, not just in West Bengal, but across the states under the regional transplant organisation (ROTTO) in eastern India.”
The pair of lungs was transported 1,645 km in 190 minutes from Surat to Kolkata and transplanted into a 46-year-old Covid patient whose lungs had been severely affected. The patient was on an ECHO machine for the last three days.
Shah’s kidneys and liver were allotted to the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC) in Ahmedabad. While one kidney went to a 44-year-old Vadodara resident, the other kidney was transplanted into a 29-year-old youth from Ahmedabad. His liver was transplanted into a 21-year-old recipient from Vadodara.
Zero lung transplants in Gujarat, 11 outside
This was the 11th inter-state lung donation from Gujarat where a pair of lungs donated in the state were transplanted into a patient in another state of India.
There have been no intra-state lung transplants in Gujarat as no hospital in the entire state has the capability or is registered to carry out such a surgery.
Dr Pranjal Modi, Convenor of State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) in Gujarat, said, “While it is good that organs donated by people in Gujarat are saving lives across the country, it is pertinent that the public sector hospitals in Gujarat develop heart and lung transplant capabilities. This will ensure organs donated here not only go to people who can pay the exorbitant cost of transplant, but also to any recipient irrespective of his or her standing in society.”
Mirror had on January 5 reported the sorry status of heart and lung transplants in Gujarat. Notably, PM Narendra Modi had on October 23, 2020, inaugurated a new wing of the UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre (UNMICRC) that also included infrastructure to start heart and lung transplants at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore.
Neither of these transplant programmes have become operational almost a year later in September 2021.