Youngest organ donor 14-month boy’s heart and kidney save two lives

Fourteen-month-old Somnath Shah from Surat has become Gujarat’s youngest donor of heart and kidneys, giving a new lease of life to two persons. His heart was transplanted into Mumbai’s three-and-a-half-year-old Aaradhya Muley, while kidneys to a 15-year-old boy from Banaskantha on Tuesday. Somnath, whose family hailed from Mubarakpur village in Siwan district of Bihar, was declared brain dead on Sunday after he suffered a haemorrhage and multiple skull fractures on Saturday.

The family had moved to Surat a few months back. Somnath’s father Sunil works as a supervisor in a power loom in Udhna area of Surat.
On September 2, Somnath fell from stairs while playing with his elder sister Kusum near his house around 7.00 pm. He hit his head and became unconscious. His parents took him to a local doctor, on whose advice, they rushed him to New Civil Hospital in Surat. Sunil said a CT scan at the hospital revealed that he was brain dead.

Nilesh Mandlewala, president of Surat-based Donate Life, an initiative for organ donation, said the hospital doctors informed them about Somnath. “He had a brain haemorrhage and multiple fractures in skull. Somnath was declared brain dead on Sunday night after which we explained organ donation to the family. Besides working on organ donation, we also double up as counsellors,” said Mandlewala.

“The family finally agreed on Monday evening, and we started the process of finding the recipients,” added Mandlewala. Somnath’s father said they that agreed for organ donation after the counsellors explained them its importance. “If the lives of other children can be saved by our son, what can be better than this? We are proud of our decision,” said Sunil over telephone.

Dr Dhaval Naik, heart-transplant specialist at CIMS hospital in Ahmedabad, said Somnath had become the youngest heart donor in Gujarat. “It is very difficult when it comes to children. Explaining to the family becomes tricky. This also stresses on the need to have more people working towards paediatric transplants and spreading awareness about it,” said Dr Naik.

Somnath’s heart was harvested on Tuesday morning for Aaradhya who was suffering from viral myocarditis, inflammation of heart caused by viral infection, for over a year. A campaign “Save Aaradhya” had also been going on in Mumbai and Pune.

The process of transporting the heart from Surat to Mumbai started at 7.30 am on Tuesday. Doctors of Mumbai-based Fortis Hospital arrived in Surat at 7.45 am. The team went back to Mumbai by 8.40 am and the heart transplant on Aaradhya started by 9.00 am. After the transplant, Dr Swati Garekar, paediatric cardiologist at Fortis Hospital, said she is critical but stable. “It is very difficult to gauge a patient on the first day of such a massive transplant. So far things are good. For the next 24 hours we cannot say how things will turn out. We are hoping for the best,” said Dr Garekar.

“She had a large heart and the pumping rate was slow. The cause of her disorder was viral infection or what we call viral myocarditis,” added Dr Garekar over telephone.

Aaradhya’s aunt Ashwini Kawade said they were looking forward to meet Somnath’s family.On the other hand, his kidneys were harvested at Ahmedabad-based Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre (IKDRC) in the afternoon.

A senior urologist at IKDRC said the kidneys went to a 15-year-old boy of Deesa city in Banaskantha district. “The boy was suffering from kidney failure for the last 10 years. As far as I know, Somnath is our youngest kidney donor,” said the urologist on conditions of anonymity.

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