LAHORE: The liver transplant centre at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore, the first-ever public facility in this vital health sector, has closed operations since January this year after the Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) banned the centre from undertaking procedures, an official told Dawn.

Since its inception in February 2012, the centre would perform one case every week. The closure has put 30 patients and their donors on the waiting list diminishing recovery chances of patients for time is very precious in liver transplant procedures.

Since 2012, the centre has performed 136 transplant procedures, and of them a large number remained successful. The official said the HOTA stopped the centre from performing procedures after the death of a donor in the surgical intervention and ordered an inquiry.

Despite the passage of three months, the probe is still on.He said the HOTA had directed the institute to wait for the recommendations it would provide to the surgeons to avoid mishaps during such procedures.The official says the hospital did a lot to revamp the centre to minimise mishaps as it bought liver cutters and portable X-Ray machines at Rs399 million and established operating theatres, an intensive care unit and a high dependence unit.

The official says the recent ban on new recruitment by the Election Commission of Pakistan impacted the centre which had advertised jobs for doctors and paramedics.

He called ban on the recruitment of doctors against the fundamental rights of patients.

The shortage of doctors at the hospital is, however, chronic as there has been no professor of anesthetics for the last couple of years besides many other senior consultants.

Acting chairman of the hospital Prof Kamran Hussain said they were awaiting recommendations from the HOTA before starting new liver transplant surgeries here.“We’re vigorously pursuing the case with the HOTA to expedite it in the best interest of the patients,” he said, adding that in the best interest of patients, the institute had accelerated its efforts to make the centre fully functional.

Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2018

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