COVID-19 positive liver-failure patient who was comatose revived successfully after transplant 

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
CHENNAI Published: Jun 10, 2021, 03:19 PM(IST)

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The patient Ragul Gandhi was physically fit and a Kabaddi Player but had lapsed into a comatose state, two days after his liver failed. Once he tested COVID-19 positive, it was also clear to medical professionals that he had only about 48 hours to live, without an emergency liver transplant.

Doctors in the Southern Indian City of Chennai successfully performed a live-donor liver transplant on a 26-year old, who was comatose after suffering acute liver failure. What made this medical procedure even more complicated for the patient and the operating doctors was the fact that he had tested COVID-19 positive. This meant heightened the risk for Doctors and healthcare staff of the MGM Hospital, who were to attend to this patient and perform surgery and related procedures.

The patient Ragul Gandhi was physically fit and a Kabaddi Player but had lapsed into a comatose state, two days after his liver failed. Once he tested COVID-19 positive, it was also clear to medical professionals that he had only about 48 hours to live, without an emergency liver transplant.

Luckily for the patient, his own brother had agreed to be the live donor, at a time (COVID-19 pandemic) when there are hardly any cadavers available for giving a lease of life. The donor was brought to the Chennai hospital and found suitable for the procedure. 

Clad in full-body PPE suits, two teams with a total of 50 (fully vaccinated) medical professionals performed the 12-hour procedure in two separate Operation Theaters - one for the COVID-19 positive patient and another for the donor. Special filters and technology were used to ensure that the doctors don’t get infected with Covid-19, owing to the long duration of exposure. According to the hospital, none of the doctors or healthcare staff tested positive, after this procedure.

The patient has been discharged after surgery and is recuperating from home, he has also defeated COVID-19. Doctors of MGM healthcare said that he would be able to live a normal life post-transplant and could even resume playing Kabaddi in about a year’s time.

When asked about the causes of such sudden acute liver failure in a young and fit sportsman, Senior Transplant surgeon Dr Thaigarajan Srinivasan of MGM Healthcare said that liver failure suddenly happens in previously normal patients. “In our part of the world, the commonest causes of acute liver failure are overdose of anti-tubercular drugs. It could be the overdose of drugs meant for Hepatitis A, E, B or even some Ayurvedic medicines. In this case, it was an accidental overdose” he told Zee media. 

Doctors also advised those with existing liver complications to stay safe at home, get vaccinated and strictly follow the COVID-19 norms. In case of such individuals getting infected by Covid-19, Doctors urged them to go ahead and seek immediate medical attention to prevent further deterioration.
 

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