It is an ordeal for Sudan citizen 45-years –old Osama Ali who first faced life-threatening liver failure and underwent a successful liver transplant in New Delhi and then got stranded in India due to COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown. Fully recovered after a month post-transplant at Manipal Hospitals, New Delhi, the patient along with his donor son and father has been desperately waiting to return to his home in Khartoum (Sudan) where his other family members are very eager to see a normal and healthy Ali.

Manipal Hospitals New Delhi gave a new lease of life to Ali just two weeks before the lockdown began. He was suffering from hepatitis B related chronic liver disease and the condition was deteriorating day by day. His friend Aziz advised him to go to India and get treated. He was admitted at Manipal Hospitals, New Delhi and a team of surgeons under the guidance of Dr Shailendra Lalwani, Head of the Department of Liver Transplant and Hepato-Pancreatic-Biliary Surgery.

“Ali’s liver was deteriorating very fast and only a transplant could have saved his life. After examination and several tests, we found a suitable donor in his 23-years-old son. We performed high-end transplant surgery and the patient responded well. After 15 days on March 15, we discharged him with advice to stay in Delhi for one month to follow up check-up and care. We never knew another ordeal awaits him in the form of lockdown and closure of international flights from India and Sudan both. However, it is encouraging for us to see him healthy and normal,” said Dr Lalwani.

A liver transplant is a surgical procedure that removes a liver that no longer functions properly (liver failure) and replaces it with a healthy liver from a deceased donor or a portion of a healthy liver from a living donor.

“Major causes of cirrhosis leading to liver failure and liver transplant include Hepatitis B and C, alcoholic liver disease, which causes damage to the liver due to excessive alcohol consumption, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat builds up in the liver, causing inflammation or liver cell damage,” explained Dr Lalwani.

According to experts, a liver transplant can be performed by taking part in the liver from a healthy donor from the family. Though cadaveric liver transplant is ideal as there is no risk to the donor due to less donation rate, living donor liver transplant is most commonly performed the liver transplant in Delhi and NCR. Since Ali’s son liver matched and that made the task easy for the surgeons.

“In Manipal Hospital, Dwarka we have the facility of all types of liver transplant which include living donor liver transplant (adult and paediatric), cadaveric liver transplant, combined liver and kidney transplant and ABO-incompatible transplant. Our centre has world-class modular operation theatres and surgical team is seconded by well-equipped Intensive Care units to ensure better outcomes,” he added.

After undergoing a successful transplant at Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka, Ali and his family were very happy and expressed gratitude towards Dr Lalwani and his team. As advised by doctors, he rented house in a nearby locality (Dwarka Sector 7) for a month and planned to go back to Sudan after a final go-ahead from the Hospitals. Meanwhile, lockdown came into force and their return travel plan got deferred for an uncertain period.

“Sudan would resume its international flights from June 13 after lifting lockdown and that gives us hope. However, unless India also resumes its international flights, we would not be able to go back. We hope to reach Khartoum by month-end or by July first week. We pray for this every day,” said Ali who has stranded in Dwarka since mid-April due to lockdown and no travel option to reach home in Sudan.

Three generations are together in India. Patient Osama Ali had been accompanied by his father and son. His son had donated liver to Ali. Other family members are in Sudan and eagerly waiting for them to come home.

“We have heard about Manipal Hospitals through a family friend and planned to come here for transplant. The situation was near normal when we planned to come here and since the health condition was progressively deteriorating, hence delaying it further would have been fatal. Moreover, getting fully cured with transplant was a priority,” Ali added.

Staying in a rented house in Dwarka – near Manipal Hospitals for three months put an extra financial burden on the family. However, the patient is fine and recovered well, hence the family does not mind paying a bit extra for his well being. However, they are finding to wait hard and painful.

Being at higher risk after undergoing an advanced liver transplant procedure for COVID-19, the patient and the family took all precautions to safeguard themselves against the virus.

They stayed at home and never ventured out even when some relaxations were given.

The patient got all support from Manipal Hospitals and Dr Lalwani’s team was constantly in their touch for any kind of medical or non-medical help, hence they feel safe and protected here.