Fatima of Kashmir’s Sumbal village completes 1 year of a normal life after successful liver transplant in 2018
- She was suffering from a rare critical liver disease known as autoimmune hepatitis; Her labourer father donated a part of his liver to save her; funds for surgery sourced through social media; hospital and doctors waivedoff fees to make surgery possible
Srinagar: A 10-year-old girl—Fatimah, who was diagnosed with a rare liver disease underwent transplant surgery in 2018 and was saved through crowd funding initiative started by the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
Fatimah of strife-torn Bandipora district in Jammu and Kashmir was successfully treated by the transplant surgeons at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi a year ago. Her story signifies a unique collaborative power of medical ability, social media and crowd sourcing as the joint efforts saved his life.
According to the family, doctors of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi came to their rescues as the initiative they started could raise enough money for her transplant surgery and medicines.
“Otherwise the rare and deadly liver disease called Autoimmune Hepatitis could have consumed the innocent soul,” said Syed Hussain, her father.
“We are poor and illiterate. We had no money for her transplant surgery. Though, few of the relatives and friends came for our support and raised funds for her surgery through social media but it was enough only for our local stay expenses and post-transplant medications. The transplant still couldn’t afford by us but all the thanks to Apollo Hospital and doctors here who did not charge a single rupee for this surgery and operated our daughter successfully,” he said.
“Today, our little Fatimah has been blessed with a second life, all because of expert and noble hearted doctors at Apollo Hospital and the support of friends and relatives,” Syed said.
Fatimah made her first public appearance today after surgery and spoke to media. She accompanied her family from Sumbal and joined Apollo doctors in a special press briefing.
“I am so happy to have completed 1 year post transplant. I am now full of energy. I attend school regularly and take part in all activities,” she said.
Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director & Senior Consultant, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Apollo Hospitals Fatimah received the support from well-wishers and philanthropists on the internet and beyond to make the surgery possible after the emotional appeal and crowd funding initiative on social media.
He said the patient belongs to a disadvantaged family of laborers and she was found to have jaundice in school.
“After evaluation, she was diagnosed with a chronic liver disease that had resulted in liver failure,” Dr Sibal said.
The patient was admitted to a hospital in Srinagar for four months with prolonged hospitalizations thrice but her condition continued to deteriorate with time.
“In Autoimmune Hepatitis, which affects only about one in two lac people, the body’s altered immune function causes one’s own antibodies to damage the liver. The body’s immune system instead of attacking viruses, bacteria and other pathogens, attacks the liver leading to chronic inflammation and serious damage to liver cells,” Dr Sibal added.
According to Dr Neerav Goyal, Senior Consultant, Liver Transplant and Haepatobiliary, Pancreatic Surgery Department the patient had deep jaundice, fluid has accumulated in her belly and the pressure in the blood vessels supplying the liver was high.
“Her liver had already shrunk and despite therapy bringing about some improvement, the fluid accumulation in her stomach persisted. She remained chronically ill and a new liver was the only option left to save her life,” he said.
“Considering her critical condition, we decided to do the liver transplant surgery on her. Patient’s father Syed Hussain, 48-year-old, became her liver donor. We performed the 12 hour-long surgery and all her liver function tests are normal now. She was discharged on 27 June 2018,” Dr Goyal said.
Talking about the causes and symptoms of the disease Dr Goyal said, “There is no particular reason or cause of this disease that why it happens, but genetic and environmental factors seem to trigger the disease. The signs and symptoms of the disease can range from minor to severe and may come on suddenly. Some of the common symptoms that one may experience are abdominal discomfort, fatigue, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), an enlarged liver, abnormal blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas), joint pains and loss of menstruation in women.”
Dr Sibal said the Apollo Liver Transplant Program has now performed more than 3300 liver transplants including 325 in children since its first successful liver transplantation in India in 1998.