Doctors from India, Pakistan come together to help save a 3-yr-old Afghan girl

Pakistan-based doctor, Dr Huma Cheema, whom the girl was originally referred to, raised the fund for the transplant. The Apollo hospitals’ doctors assisted the surgery and were able to save the life of the girl after a 12-hour long surgery

In a heart-warming tale of compassion and cross-border harmony, a three-year-old Afghan girl, Hadia Nesari, was saved by the diligence of Dr Huma Cheema, a Pakistan-based Paediatric Hepatologist, and the liver transplant team at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

The Apollo team comprising of Dr Neerav Goyal, Dr Anupam Sibal, Dr Shishir Parikh, Dr Arun Venuthuvimilli, Dr Vaibhav Kumar, Dr Namit Jerath, Dr Vidyut Bhatia, Dr Hitendra Garg and Dr Smita Malhotra assisted in the surgery.

Dr Huma said, “Hadia had been unwell in Afghanistan for some time and was referred to my department at Children’s Hospital, Lahore. We admitted her in a critical condition. She had contracted the chronic liver disease of unknown cause, and despite our best efforts, her disease became severe, and the organ became cirrhotic. Ultimately, her liver was failing. In the end, the only option, left with us, was a liver transplant. I immediately referred her to Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, as it is a pioneering institute in the field of liver transplants.”

“When we counselled the family to go for a liver transplant, they broke down and told us that since Hadia’s father is a teacher, he couldn’t afford the proposed treatment,” Dr Huma added.

Going above and beyond the call of duty, she decided to fund the treatment herself as the family had severe financial constraints.

Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director and Senior Consultant, Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Apollo Hospitals, said, “We started the assessment for a liver transplant immediately as Hadia needed an urgent liver transplant. In about 20% of children needing a liver transplant, the cause cannot be identified as was the case with Hadia. Once liver failure becomes end stage, the only treatment is a liver transplant.”

Dr Sibal further said, “Hadia is the third child from Afghanistan to have received a transplant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals. Since performing the first successful liver transplant in India, in 1998, The Apollo Liver Program has now performed more than 3,100 transplants, including 297 in children.”

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals respecting Dr Huma’s generosity offered them the treatment at a subsidised rate.

Dr Neerav Goyal, Senior Consultant, Liver Transplant and Hepatobiliary, Pancreatic Surgery Department, added, “As the blood vessels in a young child are very small, we needed to take extra care to plan the transplant. Her father Ahmed Fawad became her liver donor. We performed a successful 12-hour long liver transplant surgery on the patient last month. Hadia is doing well now, and all her tests are normal.”

Hadia’s father expressed his immense gratitude to the team of doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Dr Huma Cheema and the grace of God which saved the life of his child, “Nothing is worse than watching your child suffer through a disease. By giving new life to Hadia, doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals have given a new life to our family. We head back to Afghanistan, taking back fond memories of our time in India.”