New Delhi: The Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai on Tuesday achieved a landmark when it performing the 1,000th renal transplant on a 23-yeard old patient.
"This makes it the first government-run hospital in the country to achieve such a distinction", said Dean V. Kanakasabai.
Hospital authorities and nephrologist M.A. Muthusethupathi, who conducted the first transplant surgery 25 years ago on July 10, 1987 at the hospital, said it is time to recollect. “It is almost 25 years [since the programme was started] and 1,000 is a good number. Earlier, in 1982, we did a transplant in Government Royapettah Hospital. Then, when I was transferred to the GH, we continued it there. Every time you do a transplant you have to plan; it needed a lot more effort back then but gradually, it has become stable,” he said.
When the transplant programme began about 75 to 80 per cent of the patients had a three-year survival rate. “It is time to look back and see how the patients are doing,” Dr. Muthusethupathi said.
Another reason the program has done so well is because the State provides a life-time free supply of immunosuppression drugs to the patients. “When we made a request to the State government, they promptly agreed,” Dr. Muthusethupathi recalled. And, since the beginning of the programme, the patients have been receiving free supply of the drugs.
The first successful cadaver renal transplantation was performed at the hospital in January 1996. But, it was only in 2008 that cadaver transplantation picked up, Dr. Kanakasabai added.