Recipient tested COVID-19 positive at the time of surgery
MGM Healthcare, a multi-specialty quaternary care hospital in the heart of the city announced a successful living donor liver transplant with a patient who was tested positive in a COVID 19 RTPCR Test at the time of the surgery.
46 year old Mr Sakthi , a building contractor by profession is one of those fortunate few to have a new lease of life and liver even in the wake of Corona crisis rattling the world with his sister donating a part of her liver. His liver had been failing for the past few years as he ran from pillar to post for remedy. To add to his miseries he developed life threatening spontaneous bacterial peritonitis. It was at this juncture that his family came to know about the liver transplant services at the MGM healthcare.
He was rushed to MGM healthcare in a critical condition in an ambulance and had crashed in the ICU. With due precaution for COVID 19 the doctors at MGM healthcare treated him intensively and decided that liver transplantation was the only option that could save him. With the covid situation cadaveric transplantation was almost impractical and he did not have much time to wait for one. When the family realised the grave situation the sister volunteered to donate a part of her liver.
He was negative for COVID 19 by RT PCR twice during his evaluation. A COVID 19 RTPCR test was conducted a day before the surgery, post which the patient’s health started deteriorating badly and the doctors decided not to put a life at stake and wait for the reports of COVID 19 RTPCR and immediately initiated the procedures for a liver transplant on 15th June 2020 with high level of protection following the neo-normal requirements. It was during the middle of surgery that the report of COVID 19 RTPCR was available and it turned out to be false positive.
The team led by Dr. Selvakumar Naganathan, Director – Institute of Liver Transplantation and HPB Surgery took the call and decided to proceed with the surgery to save the patient as all necessary protocols were in place in case the patient were to be tested positive.
Dr Prashant Rajagopalan, Director, MGM Healthcare Pvt. Ltd said, “We have been at crossroads before but none like this. Our Medical team responded well by taking all due necessary precaution as if treating a COVID-19 patient. It speaks volumes about our healthcare movement and our superior COVID-19 protocols. “I’m truly delighted how all this has turned out and especially more so for the recipient and their family including the donor.”
“MGM Healthcare has performed 5 living donor transplant during the pandemic period. MGM Healthcare is one of the few centers in South India that performs Living Donor Transplantation”, he further added.
“This was probably the first time anything like this had happened, for the patient to test positive for COVID 19 RTPCR test at the time of the surgery. We were in a dilemma when we heard the news. But as doctors, since we had taken all the precautions we were able to decide easily to prioritize the health of a patient before other things. And this pushed us to take the call to proceed with the surgery despite the test reports. I would like to commend the support that my team of doctors and supporting staff gave me during this case. They boldly stood by the decision to help with the surgery regardless of their own safety which was adequately taken care of at our facility. However, we were happy for both ourselves and the patient when we learned that COVID 19 RTPCR test conducted on the patient post-surgery, during recuperation turned out to be negative,” says Dr. Selvakumar.
The recipient and donor both recovered well. The subsequent two tests on both donor and recipient were negative for COVID. The donor got discharged on the 15th postoperative day while the recipient got discharged on POD 18. Its for miracles like these, the whole MGM team aligns and pushes to deliver the very best in these though times – for every life saved makes us believe and hold onto – Hope.