A few months back, Bandra resident Aarti Panchal, 40, (name changed) went to Delhi for a liver transplant. Her elder brother, who has the same blood group as hers, donated her a part of his liver. “We chose to get a living donor liver transplant (LDLT) done at Sir Gangaram hospital as the chances of the patient and donor’s survival there are nearly 92%, while in Mumbai, a lot of patients who undergo such surgeries die,” she said.
In an LDLT, a piece of a healthy liver is removed from the donor and transplanted into the patient.
Statistics show that Delhi conducts up to 20 times more liver transplants than Mumbai. Leading transplant centres in Delhi saw as many as 540 last year. Hospitals in Mumbai, on the other hand, conducted not more than 22 transplants. Only four of these were LDLTs done in private hospitals out of which three were unsuccessful wherein the patient died.
“Of the transplants conducted in Delhi, barely 10% were cadaveric; 90% were LDLTs. In Chennai, close to 80% were LDLTs,” said Dr Subhash Gupta, liver transplant surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Delhi.
While the city sees close to 300 patients suffering from end stage liver disease, less than 10% of them manage to get an organ in Mumbai. “Another 10% go to Delhi or Chennai, Hyderabad or Vellore in the hope of getting a transplant. Almost 80% die waiting for a transplant as they can’t afford surgery,” said Dr Chetan Kantharia, professor, surgical gastroenterology at KEM hospital.
An LDLT can cost up to Rs30 lakh. Of the two LDLTs that have been done in KEM hospital, in one case both the 40-year-old patient and her mother who donated the liver died. The scenario in leading private hospitals is no different. According to sources, they refrain from conducting LDLTs for the fear of deaths.