A transplant surgery gone wrong

While the doctors engage in their usual blame-game routine, no one can ease the pain of the family of the deceased.

Sehrish Wasif May 23, 2012
The liver transplant centre of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) witnessed its first liver transplant surgery on May 2. The establishment of this transplant centre was directed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the utilisation of huge amounts of fund required for its construction still remains controversial.

The sad reality is that no one can hold the minister and his team accountable for this sum of money.

The surgery — which took place on May 2 — was historic because it was the first of its kind in the country. Indeed, this is true, for it met a fateful end. One wonders what hopes and dreams 36-year-old Attaullah Baloch of Khuzdar came with to receive his transplant — where his wife donated a piece of her liver to ensure the sustenance of her husband’s life.

Though the hospital’s administration made efforts to keep the surgery confidential from media and even from the majority of the centre staff, unfortunately they failed. Perhaps it was because they were already aware of the incompetence of its surgical team.

The surgery was carried out by a team of British and Pakistani surgeons and though one cannot comment on the skill of the former, it is apparent that the latter were not up for the task set for them.

Baloch was operated upon again — after the failure of his initial transplant surgery — during which his hepatic artery was ruptured, resulting in renal failure. Lack of preparation post-surgery, such as to procure blood for the patient to match his blood type, also suggests one reason which led to the tragic outcome.

Even though Attaullah Baloch died after the second surgery, he was kept on the ventilator for two days and later pronounced dead. There seems to be no fathomable reason for this other than to delay the negative publicity that would have followed.

And while the doctors are engaging in their usual blame-game routine, no one can ease the pain of the family of the deceased.

The prime minister himself ordered the establishment of the centre, but will he take notice of the death at the centre now, or does his job only entail giving directives and not following up on them whether they are implemented or not?
Sehrish Wasif
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