What if we were stranded in a foreign country for a year and during this high peak of the pandemic with our other family members who are recuperating from a serious illness? It seems so difficult right. But the same harrowing situation was experienced by the families of 11 kids who came to India for liver transplants from the Philippines between August last year and February this year. The family was stuck in India along with their 11 kids for a year and finally, they managed to board the flight home last week after the travel restrictions were eased due to a slight decrease in the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The children were really young in age and in fact one of them was only one year old.
And seven of the children were between 13 to 20 months. On the other hand, one child was only two and half years old and the oldest child is off 15-year-old. While they all waited for the ease of all the strict regulations and to fly to their home, 4 children even contracted with the Covid-19. Because of the liver transplantation and due to the medical treatments at the time of recovery the family had to stay in hotels and guest houses in Delhi so that their children could undergo the treatment. They stayed in hotels and guest houses for several months in Delhi. Dr. Anupam Sibal who is the medical director and the pediatric gastroenterologist of the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, also said that some of the parents lost their job and faced some financial issues as they were not able to return home and continue their job. Talking about the other parents, they were also facing the same issues because of the extended stay in India for their children’s treatment.
Dr. Anupam Sibal also shared how it was a worrisome time for the parents and also for him as 4 of the children were also infected with covid-19. He said, “one of the children had the moderate symptoms of covid which required hospital admission. The other 3 recuperated from the viral illness, but it was a worrisome time for us.”
The senior liver transplant surgeon at Apollo, Dr. Neerav Goyal, shared how heartening it was when he came to know that all the kids, especially the 4 who were infected by covid were alright. He said it was really heartening when he found out that when the kids were on immunosuppressive therapy, the 4 kids who were infected by coronavirus did well. He further said, “it reinforces the observation that children do well in handling SARS-CoV2, the virus that caused the Covid-19.”
Dr. Neeraj Goyal further explained how necessary this liver transplant was, especially when there is a high risk of dying from liver disease in some weeks or months. He said, ” since covid isn’t going away anytime soon, many of these patients are unlikely to have survived the period of the pandemic without the liver transplant.” He further said, “Most of the children receive the donor liver from their parents; one of the children received it from his elder brother.”
Delhi hospitals regularly admitted hundreds of patients from all over the countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Malaysia before the pandemic as in these countries liver transplant isn’t readily accessible. This pandemic has prevented many patients from flying to India. Well, the restrictions of the pandemic have also put some restrictions on the life-saving treatments of India. But as now the travel restrictions are eased, doctors are hoping for a change.