Safe surgery amidst Pandemic : 3 Little babies undergosuccessful liver transplant in 3 consecutive days during Pandemic in July 2020 at Rela Hospital, Chennai


COVID pandemic has put a halt on every aspect of our daily lives but not medical emergencies. When parents of these three less than 1-year old babies, weighed between 3.5 to 5.5 kgs from Nellore, Bangalore and Delhi, were told that only liver transplantation could save their children amidst pandemic, they were ready to defy the odds to save their little ones. With travel restrictions and logistic difficulties, they made it to Chennai to Dr Rela institute and Medical Centre for Liver transplantation

Biliary atresia is a condition which affects 1 in 10,000 children, where the bile ducts that drain bile from the liver to the intestine is not properly formed.

Dr Naresh Shanmugam, Children Liver specialist at Dr Rela Institute and Medical Centre said“All these three children were diagnosed with biliary atresia with progressive jaundice and liver failure, these children’s condition started to deteriorate, and parents did not have any option to wait. All these three children were less than a year old and less than 6 Kg and there was a greater need to implement strict infection control policies on the staff and parents to make sure both the children and donors to be safe”

Dr Mohamed Rela, Chairman and Managing director of Dr Rela Institute and Medical Centre said. “It’s a challenging task to do liver transplant in small babies with biliary atresia as they would have associated abnormal blood vessels which requires reconstruction. For reconstruction of this tiny blood vessels we use venous graft from cadavers. Due to COVID, cadaveric organ donation was practically nil and so we have to improvise and perform the surgery without the need for venous graft. All these three children had surgery on consecutive days, and I am happy that they have cleared jaundice and heading towards discharge in just two weeks after a complex major surgery”. He also added “As these children were from other states, the parents were required to get lot of documents ready for committee to clear donation. I would like to thank the government officials who managed to give clearance, without which the surgery would not have been possible”

Dr Ilankumaran Kaliamoorthy, CEO of Rela Hospital said “Being one of the world’s largest transplant centers, we have performed 100 pediatric liver transplants in less than 18 months. These smallkids can’t wait until the pandemic is over. This is just one example of how safely we can perform complex surgeries by following strict infection control protocols during pandemic”

We wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses, Technicians and other Health care workers at Dr. Rela Institute for giving their best in maintaing the standards required for best Clinical Outcomes, highest safety standards for themselves and to the Patients.


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