Dad's gift to his daughter.
Residents of Pakistan, the couple prayed for some miracle to happen. A driver by profession, Khan did not have the means for her treatment abroad. But when the doctors advised that he could take his daughter either to China or India for treatment, Khan was overwhelmed.
"I had full faith in Indian doctors and knew then that I would not lose Samreen. She could barely speak a word and would run high fever every other day. But suddenly I became hopeful," a beaming Khan told Gulf News from Pakistan.
He immediately approached the Pakistan government for financial help. Soon, both parents headed for India with their daughter. But on their way, were robbed off at gunpoint in Lahore. But Khan decided not to lose heart and managed to reach Apollo Hospital in Delhi.
Though the Pakistan government supported him yet again, Khan was dismayed not to find a liver donor. But his disappointment was short-lived. The doctors suggested he could donate a part of his liver and Khan readily agreed. Only 20 per cent portion of his liver was required to save his daughter.
Explaining the surgical process, transplant surgeon Dr Subhash Gupta said, "The transplant involved a part of the left lobe of the liver of the father being retrieved in a meticulous seven hour operation. It was followed by transferring the graft in a bowl covered with ice to the adjoining operation theatre. The child's damaged liver was removed and replaced with the father's graft liver."
After a 10-hour surgery, Samreen was cured.
Khan is all praise for the doctors. He said, "They were God sent. We can never forget their kindness and efficiency. Dr Anupam Sibal treated Samreen like his own daughter and went out of his way to provide us help. When we overshot our budget, he gave us further discount."
Providing details of Samreen's condition, Dr Sibal, group medical director of Apollo Hospital, said, "We were told that the child had jaundice immediately after her birth and several episodes of vomiting blood. She had to be transfused blood on multiple occasions and was thereafter referred to Pakistan for transplant.
"When we first saw her, Samreen was malnourished and unable to walk. Initially, we were worried whether she would be able to withstand the liver transplant. But after further tests we felt she had a good chance of making it, as we had successfully done transplants for very small children with Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis (PFIC).
PFIC is an inherent condition and Khan said Samreen could be suffering from it because he was married to his cousin sister - a practice followed in his family for over three generations.
Dr Gupta details, "The liver is responsible for making bile. But the build-up of bile in PFIC causes liver damage. This eventually leads to scarring in the liver that results in cirrhosis or cancer.
"Samreen is fine now and has to undergo monthly checks for the first six months and then every three to six months. She will be like a normal child, but will have to take anti-rejection medicines throughout her life. This is to ensure that the body's immune system does not reject the liver as a foreign body."
Khan is slightly perturbed at the cost of medicines and a special brand of milk, recommended by the doctors for his daughter. But seeing his chirpy child all his fears vanish. "I will work hard and earn more to ensure that my child does not face any difficulty," he says.
After the recovery from operation, Khan has not had any implication. "This is because the liver re-grows to normal size in weeks to months. Also, when an adult donates to a small child, only a very small part of the liver is taken.
"About 60-70- per cent of the liver can be safely donated from a healthy and fit donor, provided the liver is okay," Dr Gupta informed.
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