Liver transplants banned at Doctors Hospital

Published August 18, 2015
The surgery that reportedly went wrong was the first liver transplant procedure performed at the hospital. —Reuters/File
The surgery that reportedly went wrong was the first liver transplant procedure performed at the hospital. —Reuters/File

LAHORE: The Punjab Human Organs Transplant Authority (HOTA) has barred a private facility, the Doctors Hospital and its liver transplant surgeon from conducting further surgeries because of “failure” of the first such procedure carried out there a couple of weeks ago.

The surgery that reportedly went wrong was the first liver transplant procedure performed at the hospital, on 48-year-old Faizaul Haq of Bahawalnagar district. The patient was brought to the hospital with liver failure.

The doctors performed liver transplant procedure on the patient twice (on August 2 and then August 4) at the hospital. However, despite undergoing the surgery twice the patient died during post-operative care last Sunday.

In the first surgery, the donor was a close relative of the recipient, while during the second attempt an unrelated organ donor was arranged after getting HOTA nod in this regard.

Comprising anesthesiologists and doctors of other relevant disciplines, the surgical team was headed by liver transplant surgeon Dr Abdul Wahab Dogar.


Surgeon also barred from surgeries


An official who is privy to the information told Dawn the condition of the patient got critical shortly after first hours-long surgery. He said the doctors asked the patient’s attendant to arrange a second donor hurriedly to avoid further complications.

The re-transplantation was done two days after the first surgery. The patient was later shifted to the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital for follow-up care.

The official said a team headed by Lahore commissioner had inspected the Doctors Hospital for the liver transplant surgery and later granted it permission to start the sensitive procedure.

“The HOTA prohibited the Doctors Hospital from performing liver transplant surgery shortly after it learnt that the patient’s condition got critical due to failure of the surgery”, authority’s administrator, Prof Dr Faisal Masood, told Dawn.

He said it had also barred Dr Wahab from performing any further liver transplant procedure till the directions by the authority.

Dr Masood said an inquiry had been launched into the factors behind the patient’s death and added a committee would dig out whether the safety measures were adopted or not during the highly sophisticated surgical procedure.

He said the authority had already inspected the hospital in accordance with the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 2010. He said it had also verified the surgical skills and qualification of the liver transplant surgeon (Dr Dogar).

However, after the patients’ death the authority became more cautious and would neither allow the private health facility nor its surgeon to get involved in any other transplant surgery till hospital’s re-inspection, he said.

To a question about organ donation by unrelated person, he said the Act clearly provided for such arrangement but most of the people were unaware of the provision.

“In case of non-availability of a donor as explained under sub-section (1), the Evaluation Committee may allow donation by a non-close blood relative, after satisfying itself that such donation is voluntary”, Dr Faisal Masood said.

Dr Dogar said it was quite unfortunate that the patient died despite “best possible efforts”. He said the patient had started recovering after the second liver transplant surgery. However, his condition got critical on Sunday shortly after he vomited blood, he added.

He said the authority had barred him from further surgical procedure and he would obey the decision in its letter and spirit.

“I am a qualified and certified liver transplant surgeon and accordingly registered by HOTA for the organ transplantation”, Dr Dogar said, adding that he was hopeful that the authority would allow him to resume surgeries after completion of inquiry.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2015

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