The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Amrita Hospital) has conducted India’s – and Asia’s – first upper-arm double hand-transplant on Shreya Siddanagowda, a 19-year-old chemical engineering student of Manipal Institute of Technology, who lost both her hands in a road mishap last year. The donor was 20-year-old Sachin, a B. Com final year student of Ernakulam’s Rajagiri College, who was declared brain-dead after suffering fatal head injury in a motorcycle accident. His parents readily agreed to donate his hands and other organs for transplant.
Shreya is the only daughter of Suma Nuggihalli and Fakirgowda Siddnagowder, a senior manager at Tata Motors, Pune. In September 2016, while returning by road from Pune to her college near Mangalore, the bus she was travelling in overturned, crushing her hands. She was rushed to a hospital, where both her arms had to be amputated at the elbow.
Shreya was devastated, losing her hands at such a young age. She said: “My whole world collapsed and I couldn’t believe what had happened. However, I recovered emotionally in a few weeks because of the loving support of my family and close friends, even though momentary lapses into depression continued. When I was told by my mother that hand transplants were now being conducted in India, I got great strength and hope, and my disability began to look temporary. I felt that one day, I will again be able to lead a near-normal life with a transplant.” Four months later, Shreya began to use prosthetic limbs, but was unhappy as these did not allow her to do most of the daily chores. Her uncertain wait for a hand donor finally ended in August this year.
For Shreya’s upper-arm double hand-transplant, Dr. Subramania Iyer, HOD, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Amrita Hospital, led a team of 20 surgeons and a 16-member anesthetic team in a surgery that lasted 13 hours. He said: “Upper arm transplants are much more challenging than those at the wrist or forearm level due to the complexity involved in accurately identifying and connecting various nerves, muscles, tendons and arteries. Rehabilitation is also much more difficult because the patient bears the weight of the transplanted hands at the upper arm. In Shreya’s case, both transplants were done at the middle of the upper arm. This is the first time that an upper arm transplant has been done in India or even Asia. Only nine such transplants have been conducted in the world till now.”
Shreya’s body has accepted the transplanted hands and is showing good signs of recovery. She has been discharged from the hospital and put on an intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation program. “Shreya is currently undergoing a regime of movements for her fingers, wrists and shoulders. The elbow movements are planned to be started in a couple of weeks. We expect that she will regain 85% of hand function in the next one-and-a-half years,” said Dr. Mohit Sharma, who, along with Dr. Ravishankaran, played lead roles in the surgery.
Even though Shreya has received the hands of a male donor, she felt the hands to be great when she first saw them. She said: “Hopefully, in the next couple of years, I will be able to lead a near normal and happy life. I want to continue my studies and fulfill all my dreams that I had before the accident. I thank the donor Sachin’s family and doctors at Amrita Hospital for giving my life back.”
The Amrita Hospital created medical history in January 2015 by carrying out India’s first hand transplant on a 30-year-old patient, Manu T.R. This feat was followed by another hand transplant surgery in April 2015 on a young Afghan soldier. Both these transplants were at the wrist level. In July 2016, the hospital conducted India’s first double transplant at the elbow level. All these patients are doing well, and two of them have already become employed.
Amrita Fertility Centre, Amrita Speciality Clinic at Thevara, Kochi was inaugurated by K. J. Maxi MLA on September 26, 2017. Swami Purnamritananda Puri gave the benedictory address. Cine actress Shanti Krishna was the chief guest on the occasion.
Amrita Fertility Centre has been designed as a world class facility with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure. It has one of the largest clean room labs and provides highly affordable Assisted Reproductive Services like IVF, ICSI, IUI, diagnosis of sexual dysfunction, testicular biopsy, TESA, Micro TESE, Cryopreservation and genetic services. Infertility treatment provides customized, evidence-based treatment to each people. Advanced research in the field of assisted reproduction widens treatment horizons.
Amrita Fertility Centre is the first institute in the state to offer a PG teaching program leading to MCH in Reproductive Medicine recognised by the Medical Council of India.
Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Vishal Marwaha, Principal, Amrita School of Medicine; Dr. Narayanan, IMA President; Dr.Vinayachandran S., President, KFOG; Dr. Radhamany K., Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Gracy Thomas, President, COGS; Dr. Jayasree Nair, Head of Reproductive Medicine; Dr. Fessy Louis, Consultant, and Dr. Jyothi Pillai, Consultant, Amrita Fertility Centre spoke on the occasion.
“Sarve Bhavanthu Sukhinah”
SWASTI, a health and well-being initiative, with the aim of improving awareness and promoting positive health and well-being was launched at Amrita Hospital on September 25, 2017. The aim of SWASTI is working collaboratively with various schools, colleges, institutes, organisations and the public to deliver a range of educational programmes, presentations and interactive forums on mental health and well-being. “Depression: Let’s talk” is the World Health Organisation (WHO) theme for 2017. Mental Health in the workplace is the theme for the World Mental Health day this year (10 October 2017). The launch of SWASTI is based on the theme of “Mental Health”. There is “No health without mental health” and the aim is to raise the awareness and profile of health and well-being.
Well known lyricist, poet and script writer, Sri. Mankombu Gopalakrishnan, inaugurated the launching of “SWASTI”. Swami Purnamritananda Puri, General Secretary, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, gave the benedictory address. Cine actor, Meera Vasudevan, launched the social media website of SWASTI and shared with the audience about the subject Reel Life and Real Life: Perceptions and Perspectives on Mental Health. Commissioner of Income Tax, Dr. Jayasankar Neelakantan IRS unveiled Swasti logo and delivered the key note address. Music composer and sound designer, Sri. Dhevesh, recited the poem ‘SWASTI’.
Dr. Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Vishal Marwaha, Principal, Amrita School of Medicine; Dr. U. Krishnakumar, Director, Amrita School of Arts and Sciences, Kochi; Dr. Sanjeev K. Singh, Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Valsraj Menon, Additional Medical Superintendent, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Kesavankutty, Head of Psychiatry Department, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Gitanjali Natarajan, Head of Clinical Psychology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences; Dr. Aswathy S., Professor of Community Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Sai Bala, Nursing Director, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences spoke on the occasion. Students under the Amrita University performed various programs based on the subjects on mental health to improve public understanding of mental health and delivered on-going activities on health and well-being.
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A group of ten young children from Uganda – including one boy and nine girls – suffering from congenital heart disease have successfully undergone open-heart surgery at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Amrita Hospital) and are ready to return home next week, all hale and hearty. The patients have been brought to India under Rotary International’s ‘Gift of Life’ program which provides free treatment to child heart patients from economically disadvantaged families in low and middle income countries from around the world.
The children, including two infants aged 6 and 9 months,were previously screened by paediatric cardiologists from Children’s National Hospital, Washington DC, USA, and identified as suitable candidates for surgery. When the mother of nine-month-old Beth Amutuhaire, struggling for life due to a critical congenital heart disease, was approached by Rotary International in Uganda offering free open-heart surgery in India, she refused initially, as she had already been cheated twice of her hard-earned money due to false promises. The parents of two-year-old Atoo Rescurter were fighting against social prejudices of their own community elders, who were asking them to leave the child to her fate to suffer. Similar was the case of six-year-old Benson Muheki whose parents were told that her heart problem could never be fixed.
Said Dr. AC Peter,National Coordinator, Gift of Life (India), Rotary International: “Facilities for critical open-heart surgery for young children are almost non-existent in Africa. The parents of these 10 children, with almost the same stories and speaking different dialects from various regions of Uganda, were persuaded by Rotary International to travel to Kochi for surgery. The patients would all have perished within a few years had this opportunity of free open-heart surgery was not offered to them. Their parents were heart-broken and had lost all hope.” The Rotary Club, Cochin Knights, came forward to coordinate the project locally, in partnership with the Piravom Pampakuda River Valley Club. Vipin Nadakkal and his team received the children and parents at midnight at the Kochi international airport and escorted them to Amrita Hospital.
Said Dr. PK Brijesh, the heart surgeon from Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences who performed the surgeries: “While the parents were expecting only cardiac surgery, we at Amrita Hospital went a step further and treated many children for other ailments too while rectifying their congenital heart disease. We realized that the patients will not get a second chance to visit a hospital and no one will treat them for those problems, if we did not do so at present. So not only was eye-sight restored for the two-year-old Christine Namalwa, but Mariam Biira was also cured of a condition called Exomphalos in which the bowel and liver protrude outside the abdominal cavity. Thanks to motherly care extended by Amrita hospital and Rotary Clubs, the Ugandan parents and children, who landed at Kochi with apprehension, have already picked up several Malayalam words, mingling with the hospital staff. They feel they are at home away from home, and in safe hands. The state-of-the–art infrastructure at Amrita Hospital, together with the dedication of its medical and support staff, has enabled successful surgery of all the patients from Africa at a fraction of the cost that would be charged at hospitals in Europe or America.”
The life-long scarson the chest of the Ugandan children will remain as a testimony to the warm hospitality and love of people of Kerala for their brethren from Africa.
The program was inaugurated by Dr.Prem Nair, Medical Director. Dr.Sanjeev K Singh, Medical Superintendent, Dr. Krishna Kumar, Head of the Paediatric Cardiology and Dr. Brijesh Paediatric Cardiology participated in the program.