Lung transplant in the government hospitals, still a distant dream for Maharashtra

Till date in Mumbai, only four lung transplants have taken place, all of which were done in private hospitals. Given that we have about 14 medical colleges in the state, the dismal number of lung transplants is disappointing

Lung transplant in the government hospitals, still a distant dream for Maharashtra

On Tuesday, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh achieved an unmatched feat of being the first government run medical institute to perform lung transplant in the country. The institute reportedly performed the transplant at about Rs 10 Lakhs, whereas such a transplant at any private hospital wouldn’t cost less than Rs 35 Lakhs.

Till date in Mumbai, only four lung transplants have taken place, all of which were done in private hospitals. Given that we have about 14 medical colleges in the state, the dismal number of lung transplants is a little puzzling.

“The need for such a transplant is very little. Also, a lot of people do not opt for lung transplant because finding a perfect match is a task here,” said Dr Ravi Mohanka, Liver Transplant Surgeon at Global Hospital and visiting Liver Transplant Surgeon at KEM, Mumbai.

Lack of trained professionals could be one reason for the same, cite doctors. “Lung transplants are least common in the world. Given the specific condition with Maharashtra, lack of trained professionals for this transplant can be a reason. Lung transplant procedure is complicated, for one. Secondly, this can be done by professionals who are trained abroad or so,” added Dr Mohanka.

Lung transplant will require a consistent post-operative treatment. “We must understand that the post-medicative care for the patient is a tough task. Each day in the life of a lung transplant recipient holds a risk of the body rejecting the transplanted lung. Use of immunosuppressant medications will also be a life-long leitmotif,” said Dr Anvay Mulay, head of Cardiac Transplant Team at Fortis Hospital, Mulund. He has done two lung transplants in the city, both which took place at Fortis Hospital.

However, there is no denying that such transplants in government-run institutes are a must. “Government run institutes should have such facilities. The cost is an important factor to look at, as not everyone can afford expensive treatment in private hospitals,” added Dr. Mohanka.

“We are trying to spread awareness about organ donation extensively. In the near future, we also have plans of doing lung transplant in Maharashtra,” said Dr. Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).