Liver transplants: Pioneering surgeons may leave Sheikh Zayed Hospital

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 7:30:21 by


Two of Pakistan’s pioneering liver transplant surgeons, responsible for leading the first transplant without the help of a foreign doctor, are likely to discontinue their services at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital (SZH) due to a lack of operating facilities.

Four doctors, namely, Dr Tariq Ali Bangash, Dr Amer Latif, Dr Umar Ali and Dr Khawar Shahzad performed the country’s first liver transplant on February 24, 2012 without the aid of a foreign doctor. But in what could be a major blow to the only liver transplant centre in Punjab, two senior doctors who led the team are likely to take up offers by the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad.

The two surgeons have to respond to the offer within the next 10 days. It is expected the operation theatre’s staff will also move with the surgeons.

“They are working on contractual basis here and are given little or no facilities, even though they are the ones who carry out the surgeries. Since joining SZH in 2010, they have performed four liver transplants. Three were Living Donor Liver Transplants (LDLT), while one was a cadaveric liver transplant. All four patients are leading normal lives now,” said a doctor at SZH’s Hepatopancreaticobiliary and Liver Transplant Unit titled the ‘Arslan’ ward.

“We have tried our best to make the centre a place of hope for people in dire need of liver transplants. There are 150 patients on our waiting list at present. We completed four transplants with the limited resources, but conveyed to the administration that at least one operation theatre was needed for the purpose,” one of the surgeons not wishing to be named said.

He added that whenever there was a transplant surgery, the operation theatre in the cardiology department needs to be borrowed. “We demanded a dedicated theatre, equipment and assistants, but never got them. Staying here is living amid hopelessness.”

He said “the chief minister secretariat referred 15 patients to us, but we could not perform the transplants due to lack of facilities.”

He is of the view that instead of spending the money abroad, it should be utilised to equip facilities in the country. “When one cannot achieve something at one place, it is better to move on and save somebody else’s life.”

In total, there are 17 operation theatres at the Sheikh Zayed Hospital, including five at the Kidney Centre, three under the administrative control of the urology department and two at the cardiology department.

The liver transplant unit, however, does not only have no operation theatre, but also no high dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ICU).

The first-ever cadaveric liver transplant at the SZH was performed on August 11, 2011 and lasted for 15 hours. Muhammad Arslan successfully donated his liver to 42-year old Syed Amir Raza. The ward was named after Arslan in honour of his donation.

The second transplant took place on February 9, 2012, the third on the very next day while the fourth, which took place on February 24, was iconic because it was carried out without the help of a foreign doctor.

A doctor at the transplant unit of SZH said “Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited in February and said 25 transplants would take place in one year and pledged funds for 50 liver transplants. However, no developments have taken place so far. It is likely that no transplant will take place for months after these two surgeons leave.”

A senior official in the Health Department said doctors employed on contractual basis cannot be stopped from making the switch. He, however, reiterated the government’s commitment to keep the transplant centre functioning.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.

Islamabad News Sources -2

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Short URL:

Posted by on Apr 2 2012. Filed under Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google Deals
Log in