AFMS keen to set up first intestinal transplant facility

Armed forces to start intestinal transplant facility at defence hospital in Delhi, lack of which in country has come into focus following plight of the 23-year-old rape-victim shifted to Singapore.

New Delhi: The armed forces have sought starting of intestinal transplant facility at a top defence hospital here, lack of which in the country has come into focus following the plight of the 23-year-old rape-victim who has now been shifted to Singapore for treatment.
Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) have already applied with the government to start the facility in January and are awaiting necessary inspections, Director General AFMS Air Marshal D P Joshi told reporters here.

Denying that the capital-based Research and Referral (R&R) hospital was approached by the government for treatment of the rape victim, Air Marshal Joshi said no such facility exists in the country right now.

"We are already in the process of starting the intestinal transplant facility. We have already applied to the government to start it in January. The team may come to inspect the R&R and we have adequately trained people who will do the needful.... But no such facility exists in the country at this time," he said.

He was addressing the annual press conference of the Army Medical Corps.
Director General Medical Services (Navy) Surgeon Vice Admiral A C Anand, who is one of the trained intestinal transplant specialists, said that shortage of doctors has been the reason behind armed forces not having the capability till now.

"The main reason why we have not had it so far is the total shortage of doctors, the total number of doctors the armed forces can have. The number of patients who require this treatment is very small and it will not be economical to run a centre regularly as only one or two transplant are happening," Admiral Anand said.

Asked about the complications behind such a surgery, he said any organ transplant procedure is a multi-modality treatment, requiring involvement of various specialists.

Admiral Anand also said that intestinal transplant is not an emergency medical treatment and only 10 per cent patient needing such a treatment develop complications.

"Intestinal transplant is not an emergency procedure. Whenever any intestinal failure takes place, the first line of treatment is Total Parental Nutrition (TPN), that means all the nutrition is provided through veins," he said.

Patient can survive on TPN for five-six years and the transplant can be planned any time during the period, he added.

"Only 10 per cent may develop complications in the first year and they may require the transplant. Otherwise immediate requirement is not there," he said.


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