One baby, two lifesaving surgeries and one happy beginning
July 10, 2020
It should have been the happiest period of their life, but it turned into a nightmare. Mr. & Mrs. Yuvraj was a young couple. The husband was a painter and their life was simple, but happy. The crowning glory in their life was the birth of their son Deepak. Their life was normal until the baby’s delivery, but then it all went downhill very fast.
From happiness to devastation in a moment
At birth, though the baby was small, he seemed healthy, but within a few weeks, they knew there was something wrong. His skin and whites of his eyes turned yellow. Initially it was thought that he had jaundice that is common in many new borns. This condition usually resolves within 2 or 3 weeks, but he did not get well.
Gradually he started passing grey and white stools while his urine became darker and darker- symptoms of severe jaundice. A series of tests were performed and he was diagnosed with Biliary Artesia.
What is Biliary Artesia?
Biliary artesia is a rare disease that affects the bile ducts in infants and is noticeable within 2 to 3 weeks after birth. The bile ducts are destroyed and flow of bile from the liver to the small intestine is blocked. The bile backs up in the liver and damages liver cells leading to scarring called liver cirrhosis. This is a very serious and life threatening condition.
Two step procedure
The first step in the treatment of biliary artesia is the Kasai Procedure. During the procedure, the blocked bile ducts and gall bladder are removed. A new duct is made from small intestine tissue and this is used to connect the liver to the small intestine. In 50% of the babies, this will lead to complete recovery, but the other 50% with badly damaged liver require a Liver Transplant to survive.
The Kasai Procedure was performed by Dr. Priya Ramachandran and the liver was successfully attached to the small intestine in a surgery that took 4 hours. The tiny baby, however did not recover as his liver was considerably damaged. So the second surgery, a liver transplant surgery, became necessary.
The whole procedure was fully explained to the parents. They were not very educated and were poor, but they never faltered. The mother was completely determined to go ahead and the father supported her completely. The procedure was expensive and was beyond their means, so they decided to apply for the TN Government’s health scheme.
Although she was a small frail woman, she was determined to donate the liver for her son. The mother’s conviction that her son would be cured was an inspiration to all concerned. We worked with them, filling forms and guiding them every step of the way to procure Government sponsorship, which finally arrived much to our relief.
There was another major hurdle and the mother handled it as she had handled everything before, with courage and conviction. She was determined to donate a part of her liver, in spite of opposition from her father. He felt that if the baby did not recover, then his daughter’s suffering would have been in vain. But, nothing could dissuade the mother from saving her son. She focused on the day she would take her healthy baby home and did not see the numerous obstacles in her path.
The transplant surgery was performed by Dr. Prof. Mohamed Rela. A portion of the mother’s liver was transplanted to the baby in a 10 hour surgery. The tiny baby still had a long way to go before he could go home, but he had a fighter beside him. The mother, who had undergone surgery to donate her liver, became his champion and nursed him to stability and good health.
A normal baby looking at a normal life after the liver transplant.
Liver transplant is a lifesaver. Though it may be heartbreaking to see babies and children go through such a major surgery, it is necessary to save their life. A very sick child can become completely healthy and regain the capacity to lead a normal life like any other child after a liver transplant.
Baby Deepak with his parents’ help achieved this success. The proud parents took home a healthy baby who was literally at death’s doorstep nearly every day of his life until his surgery.
The expertise of the Liver Team at Dr. Rela Hospital and the indomitable spirit of the baby’s parents combined to give him a normal life. Master Deepak is now a healthy 5 years old with a vibrant future stretching in front of him.
Why Rela Hospital is best for liver care
Rela Hospital is one of the best hospitals for paediatric liver transplants in India. It is the largest paediatric liver transplant centre in South-Asia and the second largest in the world. Expertise, experience and equipment are the three areas of excellence at the centre. Cutting edge diagnostic tools and infrastructure, dedicated liver ICUs, 24×7 liver emergency services and an experienced liver team are dedicated to provide the best paediatric liver transplant service.
Contact us for all your liver problems.