Two more kidney transplant procedures have been undertaken in Guyana, taking the total number of successful operations to be completed in these parts to seven. And once again it was the expert hands of renowned kidney surgeon, Dr Rahul Jindal of the Walter Reed Medical Centre in Washington D. C., who guided the procedures.
He was ably assisted by a team of about nine critically acclaimed professionals, including a nephrologist, an anaesthesiologist and other surgeons from the United States.
The renal failure patients were both males in their 50s who had received the crucial organs from family members.
As at yesterday both patients as well as the donors were alert and recovering well.
The operations were facilitated at the Balwant Singh Hospital, a private facility situated on East Street in the city.
According to Dr Jindal, the transplant operations were each conducted during the course of a day and were in fact quite intense procedures. “We have to start with the donor and that takes about three and a half to four hours and then that is staggered a bit and the other operation starts.
“These are two operations in two operating rooms…There is only one chance for transplant because if something goes wrong, well that’s it.”
However there was little chance of something going wrong as the patients were thoroughly screened earlier this year to ascertain whether they could become vulnerable to risk factors.
A third patient should have been operated on but reports are that he was not quite ready.
“It not just any one that comes in with kidney failure that we can do the transplant on…We can’t do the transplant just like that; not only do they need the donor but there is also need for investigation such as laboratory work, x-rays and they have to be screened for heart conditions and so on.”
The team of medical professionals arrived in Guyana on Tuesday and was also able to complete other kidney related operations including Vascular Access and Peritoneal Dialysis.
In fact a total of 12 operations, in addition to the transplants were completed over a five-day period, Dr Jindal revealed to this newspaper yesterday.
The team is set to depart Guyana today. According to Dr Jindal a total of 64 patients were screened; seven have kidney failure. Three of the patients screened are in their 20s and already have donors and are being prepared for surgery at a later date.
Dr Jindal had made his mark on these shores in 2008 when he conducted the first ever kidney transplant operation at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The patient was 18-year-old Munesh Mangal, who received a kidney from his mother, Leelkumarie Mangal. The move was regarded as the start of a public/private partnership which saw another transplant operation being undertaken in the following year.
Then it was 47-year-old Winston George, an army officer who was forced to retire because of his ailing condition caused by his kidney condition. Two more operations were reportedly done through the collaboration.
However, in light of the fact that measures are being put in place by the public hospital to concretise the provision of kidney services, the collaboration with Jindal was halted. This saw him diverting his intricate skills to the Balwant Singh Hospital.
According to Dr Jindal the doctors at the Balwant Singh Hospital are already familiar with the process. He noted, “We don’t have to be physically present. We have worked with them and they are able to do all the testing even after we are gone. They e-mail me and they give feedback about the patients.”
The collaboration with the Balwant Singh Hospital is so designed that each patient operated on is assigned a doctor who is tasked with monitoring his recovery guided by Dr Jindal via the internet.
The medical team, which hailed from the United States, was solely sponsored by popular business mogul and philanthropist, Mr George Subraj.
Subraj, a Guyanese by birth, had migrated to the United States and excelled in the real estate business and opted to give back some of his fortune to his country of birth utilizing what should have been his retirement fund.
He first started offering his financial assistance in the latter part of the 1970s after which he joined forces with the Guyana Watch, a team characterized by volunteering medical professionals from the United States who sought to render medical care across Guyana to those in dire need.
He however branched off into another volunteering scheme this time soliciting the support of the renowned Dr Jindal in a bit to address the ever-growing problem of kidney failure here in Guyana.
He was instrumental in the start-up of kidney transplant in Guyana. “My role is just to finance the project and I want to give back to the society. I am giving back and I intend to do a lot more and it will not only be in health.”
In excess of US$25,000 is usually expended to facilitate the medical team during its stay in Guyana, Subraj said.
Education is close to the philanthropist’s heart. “If our kids are empowered with knowledge and skills they will be off of the streets…”
According to him, he has plans streamlined to procure a school bus for the Saraswatie Vidya Niketan School at Cornelia Ida, West Coast Demerara and intends to also procure an ambulance for the Balwant Singh Hospital.
The acquisition of education will extend to health as well, Subraj noted. It will encourage youths to adopt a lifestyle that promotes healthy diets, exercise and other factors which could see them avoiding life threatening illnesses the likes of diabetes, hypertension and renal failure, he added.
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