India’s First Kid to Have Liver Transplant Will Become a Doctor
Life has come full circle for Sanjay Kandasamy (23) as “the miracle baby of medicine is ready to join the profession.”
Doctors at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in the national capital look forward to April as Kandasamy, who made history by undergoing the country’s first pediatric liver transplant when he was 20 months old in 1998, will take the Hippocratic oath.
Kandasamy, who belongs to Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, is full of beans about his feat.
“This has been my ambition since childhood. Today I am alive thanks to the efforts of my doctors. I want to take up this noble profession to save lives. Initially I wanted to be a surgeon, but then I realized that my interest lies in pediatrics. I will likely specialize in pediatrics and focus on neonatology (newborns), ”he said.
Kandasamy was born with a rare disease called biliary atresia, the congenital disorder that causes liver failure in newborns. Liver failure occurs due to blockage of the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder.
His father had donated 20% of his liver for transplant surgery.
“He was the first child in India to have a successful liver transplant. It has been 22 years since you underwent the surgical procedure. It’s a classic example of long-term trouble-free survival after undergoing liver transplant surgery, “said Dr. Anupam Sibal, group medical director and senior liver specialist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Dr. Sibal was one of the key members of the team of doctors who had treated Kandasamy in 1998.
The doctors, who participated in the surgical procedure, had to face multiple challenges to ensure Kandasamy’s recovery.
“I remember he was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for about two months. We practically lived in the hospital for those two months to get him out of the ICU. He was less than two years old when he underwent surgery. His condition was quite critical, ”recalled Dr. AS Soin, president of the institute for liver transplantation and regenerative medicine, Medanta Hospital, Gurugram.
Dr. Soin had performed the critical surgery together with Dr. MR Rajasekhar at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
“It is one of the proudest moments in my 28-year career as a transplant surgeon. My baby patient is ready to become a doctor, ”he added.
The surgical procedure has highlighted that long-term trouble-free survival for children who have undergone liver transplantation is a reality.
“We know of about 40 children who lead normal lives even after 12 years of liver transplantation. Worldwide, children have lived more than 40 years after their transplant, ”said Dr. Soin.
Dr. Sibal said there were some common parental concerns that they would keep repeating during counseling sessions that take place before liver transplant surgery.
“Will my child be able to go to school without any difficulties? Will my child have normal growth and development? The last question is more common for a girl, where parents are anxious to know if she can start a family when she is older. While these are legitimate concerns, they have been shown to be ill-founded, ”added Dr. Sibal.